PokerStars, which owns the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), has just announced that the Grand Final for this 8th season of the LAPT will be held in São Paulo during the Brazil Series of Poker (BSOP) “Millions” festival, coming up at the end of November.
BSOP is sponsored (although not owned) by PokerStars.net, so the collaboration is natural. This year’s Millions festival consists of 15 events – the LAPT Grand Final not included – with buy-ins starting at R$250 ($78 USD) and a Main Event with a R$2600 ($808 USD) buy-in and R$6 million ($1.86 million USD) guaranteed. The LAPT Grand Final, meanwhile, has a R$10,000 (USD $3109) buy-in, making it a very signficant addition to the festival, bigger even than the “high roller,” the buy-in for which is only R$6000 ($1866 USD).
Interestingly, this comes after PokerStars having opted to combine the Season 8 opener with another of their franchises, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which is technically part of the European Poker Tour (EPT), despite being held in the Bahamas. The LAPT Bahamas Main Event kicked off this past January as Event #2 of the PCA schedule. At $3000, it was eclipsed by the PCA Main with its $10,000 price tag, but this was actually great for its numbers; it drew 736 entries, far more than expected, likely because of players who would not ordinarily bother with a minor tour like the LAPT, but were already there for the PCA.
This intersecting of tours seems like a solid strategy for PokerStars, and highlights the advantages of the company’s global reach. It’s no wonder, then, that they’ve decided to continue in the same vein with the Grand Final and the BSOP. Given the relative size of the buy-ins, however, it may be the BSOP Main Event and High Roller which are the greater beneficiaries come November; just as the LAPT Bahamas became a convenient side event for PCA players, the BSOP events will likely benefit from players warming up to or cooling down from the LAPT Grand Final.
I suspect that the LAPT/EPT and LAPT/BSOP hybrids will be back next season as well, and that we’ll see a lot more such crossover events in future, both from PokerStars and others in the industry, such as 888 Holdings, who now control most of the significant brands in the U.S. since their acquisition of bwin.party. It’s a great way to use a larger brand to boost numbers for a smaller one, and it’s good for players as well, allowing them to play more events with less travel.
Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.