In recent years, the World Poker Tour has put the “world” back in their moniker with several high profile stops around the globe. Their Season XI schedule already featured several official Season XI and regional tournaments outside of the U. S., but that hasn’t stopped the WPT from adding on two more international events, including a stop where the WPT has never gone before.
Earlier today the WPT announced that they would take a trip “north of the border” to one of the most popular poker clubs in Canada. The WPT Montreal will take place from November 23-26 at the Playground Poker Club in the Quebec province. The Playground has, in a short time, become one of the preeminent poker locations in Canada; with the addition of a $3000 (Canadian) re-entry event (something that was extremely good for the WPT in its Season X schedule), the Playground will only further its drive in becoming a world-class poker location.
Already committed to the WPT Montreal are professional players (and Playground Poker representatives) Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak and Erik Cajelais.
Prior to that tournament, however, the WPT will be taking its first foray into the Southern Hemisphere of the world. From October 22-26, the WPT will journey to Johannesburg, South Africa for the WPT Emperors Palace Poker Classic. Held at the Emperors Palace Hotel Convention Entertainment Resort (naturally), the WPT will be bringing its brand of poker to South Africa’s best with a $3000 buy in (U. S.) event that features a re-entry option.
These events only continue to further the WPT’s reach around the globe. “We are thrilled to be adding two exciting new events to our Season XI schedule,” said Steve Heller, the Chief Executive Officer of the WPT, during the announcement of the events. “As our first event in the Southern Hemisphere, WPT Emperors Palace Poker Classic is a ground-breaking step into uncharted territory for World Poker Tour, while WPT Montreal marks a long-awaited return to one of the great poker centers in the world.”
The WPT Montreal will mark a return to what had previously been a very popular tournament ground in Canada. The WPT was last in the “Great White North” back in 2008, when the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls hosted the North American Poker Championship. The Fallsview Casino Resort actually was a stop for two years on the WPT schedule, in 2007’s Season VI (won by Scott Clements) and 2008’s Season VII (won by Glen Witmer over Kathy Liebert and Gavin Smith).
The two new stops join a host of international events that now appear on the WPT calendar for Season XI. Cyprus, Paris, Malta, Morocco, and the Czech Republic all have official Season XI WPT stops, joining traditional WPT locations such as the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, the Borgata in Atlantic City, bestbet Jacksonville in Florida and the Bellagio in Las Vegas on the schedule (more tournaments should be announced; the current Season XI schedule only runs through December).
In addition to these official stops, the WPT will also be hosting “national” tournaments in Spain, Morocco and Italy through the end of 2012. These tournaments feature a lower buy in than the official WPT tournaments and also are not considered a part of the Season XI official schedule (champions of these events do not receive the honor of being put on the WPT Champions’ Cup, for example).
The two major U. S. tournament circuits seem to be picking up their international involvement, with this move by the WPT and the recent announcement by the World Series of Poker for its first trip to the WSOP Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) next April at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. The European Poker Tour, on the other hand, has cut its continental schedule from the thirteen tournaments on its Season Eight schedule to only eight for its Season Nine journeys, citing a desire to make for more of a “poker festival” format rather than one-off Main Events only.