Los Angeles, CA
The Ruskies stiff-armed PokerStars and gave the finger to the entire poker industry after the Russian government unleashed sweeping reforms revoking poker's status as a "sport" and shutting down all casino operations in Mother Russia save for a handful of approved state-run casinos. According to the NY Times...
"Casinos in Russia are now to be confined to the Altai region of Siberia; the coastal area of the Far East, near the border with North Korea and China; Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania; and the Azov Sea region in the south."Plenty of jokes were passed around that the PokerStars.com EPT stop in Russia was being moved from Moscow to Siberia. Although casinos were on the banned list, it initially appeared that poker was going to be spared since it was classified as a sport in Russia. However, in the last few days, that exception is no longer valid.
Marianna Tishchenko wrote, "Russian officials announced that an error was made in 2007 when poker was added to the list of official sports. As a result, poker clubs will also be illegal under the antigambling law."
Yikes. Supposedly, once Russia outlawed casinos, the folks at the EPT scrambled to find an alternative venue in order to avoid a fiasco such as LAPT Mexico last December when the federales shut down the event during Day 1. The EPT pegged Kiev as one of the few viable options if the EPT Moscow. As soon Russian officials nullified poker as a sport, Kiev went from being a possibility to being a reality.
Alas, the EPT Moscow is never more and the EPT Kiev will be replacing them. Here's the press release from PokerStars...
The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour (EPT) is pleased to announce an alternate venue for its August event, now scheduled to be held in Kiev, the largest city and capital of Ukraine, at the Kiev Sports Palace, from August 18-23, 2009. The "EPT Kiev Sports Poker Championship" is to be held under the regulation and authority of the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth, Family and Sport, and in partnership with the Ukrainian Poker Federation. This event is expected to be the largest poker tournament ever held in the Ukraine.So the good news is that you don't need a visa since the Ukraine is in the EU. But the bad news is that Kiev is not Moscow. Sure, Kiev has its own charm, but it's no Moscow. In other venue changes of note, Budapest is out, but Portugal is in.
The Kiev event replaces the previously-scheduled 2009 Russian Open poker tournament due to be held at the Radisson SAS Slavyanskaya, Moscow from August 18-23, 2009. That event has been cancelled because our ability to run the event was placed in doubt due to the recent closure of all casinos in Russia.
Euro Poker Tour Ltd. sincerely apologises to all players who were intending to attend the Moscow event, but unfortunately these circumstances were beyond our control. Players are encouraged to consider attending the Ukrainian event instead, and to participate in the opening of the EPT's sixth season.
PokerStars advises its players who qualified online for the Moscow event that their packages (including buy-in and hotel) will be converted to EPT Kiev packages; however they will also be eligible to take a credit for a future event, or receive the cash equivalent value as alternatives.
The buy-in for the "EPT Kiev Sports Poker Championship" Main Event will be 5,000 EUR (4,700 + 300).
Players should note that the Ukraine does not require visas for citizens of the European Union, United States or Canada (among many other countries) when travelling to Ukraine for less than 90 days. Players from other countries should check this webpage (http://www.mfa.gov.ua/uk/en/2322.htm) or with their local embassy for more information.
We appreciate the opportunity to bring the EPT to beautiful and historic Kiev, and look forward to exploring the sights, sounds and flavors of the rich Ukrainian culture.
EPT Season 6 Schedule - Part 1:And if you have exotic tastes and are longing to travel to the Far East or Down Under, then you should take ashot at those soft satellites to various APPT events. Here's the schedule...
Aug 18-23 EPT KIEV (Ukraine) - 4,700 + 300 EUR
Sept 4-9 EPT BARCELONA (Spain) - 8,000+300 EUR
Oct 2-7 EPT LONDON (UK) - 5,000+250 GBP
Oct 20-25 EPT WARSAW (Poland) - 23,500+1,500 PLN
Nov 17-22 EPT VILAMOURA (Portugal) - 5,000+300 EUR
Dec 1-6 EPT PRAGUE (Czech Republic) - 5,000+250 EUR
Jan 4-14, 2010 PCA (Bahamas) - $10,000+600 USD
2009 APPT Schedule:If you don't have a PokerStars account, you can download the PokerStars software here.
Aug 25-30 APPT Macau (China) - 40,000 HKD ($5,160 USD)
Sept 17-20 APPT Seoul (South Korea) - $3,000 USD
Oct 14-18 APPT Auckland (New Zeland) - $3,250 NZD ($2,100 USD)
Nov 12-15 APPT Philippines - 100,000 PHP ($2,150 USD)
Dec 1-6 APPT Sydney (Australia) -6,300 AUD ($4,920 USD)
And before I go, here's a little fodder....
Top 5 Rejected Circuit Stops for PokerStars:
1. Kazakhstan Open (SPT - Stan Poker Tour)
2. Kabul Cup (SPT - Stan Poker Tour)
3. Baghdad Championships (MPT - Mesopotamia Poker Tour)
4. Honduras Grand Slam of Poker (PUCAPT - Politically Unstable Central American Poker Tour)
5. Somalia Poker Classic (SSAPT - Sub-Saharan Africa Poker Tour)
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