There’s a new game in town and it’s called the TK Poker Tour, named for the initials of its founder, Thomas Kremser. Details about the long-term plans for the tour are scarce at the moment, but a full schedule has been released for its first stop at the Maho Beach Hotel & Casino on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, featuring 16 events over a span of nine days, from November 19 through 28.
Kremser is a well-established tournament director who has run events for multiple organizations over the years, including a long run with the European Poker Tour (EPT) from 2004 to 2011. He left the EPT shortly after Black Friday to strike out on his own, founding a company called TK Poker Events with himself as CEO and his wife, Marina Kremser as President – Marina is also in charge of Marketing and Customer Relationship for the TKPT.
The choice of St. Maarten as the first stop on the tour is no surprise, as TK Poker Events has been running smaller events there since 2003. It seems that Kremser now feels the time is right to start spreading out and taking his events on the road, but it’s not clear yet where the tour will go from St. Maarten. The only clue is that the inaugural event is being called “TKPT Caribbean,” rather than TKPT St. Maarten, so presumably the plan is for the tour to be global or continental, and not confined to just the Caribbean/Central American region.
The events for the first stop are considerably more modest in buy-in than most tours, beginning at $100+20; the Main Event is a three-day, $1100 re-entry event with two starting flights. The tour has a satellite partnership with lntertops Poker and Juicy Stakes; the satellites being offered are identical in both cases, as the two sites have been sharing a player base since 2013, when Juicy Stakes was taken over by Zagox Management. There are $1.10, $2.20 and $11 super-satellite options, all feeding into a $110 satellite with one $2700 full package to the TKPT Caribbean Main Event guaranteed.
With the overall low buy-ins for the series, microstakes satellites and no prize pool guarantees as of yet, the TKPT seems to be geared towards a more casual crowd, rather than catering to same traveling tournament professionals as most other tours. As such, one would expect future stops to be chosen based largely on appeal as vacation destinations, rather than for the size and prestige of the casino venues. This is likely to be a smart move based on other industry trends, such as the success of the Colossus and Lucky Sevens at this year’s WSOP, and 888 Poker launching its 888live Local series of tournaments; as top-level professionals turn more and more to the super high-roller scene, space is being opened up at the bottom end of things for a possible revival of casual live poker.
Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.