Thoughts on the New GUKPT Schedule

This week the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour announced their 2011 schedule, which featured a variety of new added value promotions, the removal of their end of year Champion of Champions event and most notably less legs of the tour. Last year the PokerStars UKIPT arrived on the scene and captured the attention of the UK market, no doubt leaving the GUKPT with a lot to think about, so how have they responded?

New Champion of Champions Tournaments
At first I didn’t like this, because I see the Champion of Champions event as a huge event on the UK calendar, but the last two years it hasn't quite lived up to that, it hasn't been as special as I made it in my head. So I don’t mind this now and could imagine there will be some value in the form of some of the bigger players might not even bother to play.

Wild card entries:
I love this idea, great extra value for those of us who have no chance of taking down a GUKPT event the proper way and will no doubt be very popular. The only criticism is that this innovation would have been way more exciting had the Champion of Champions event stuck to the original end of the year format.

Bumper GUKPT Leaderboard: 
Another reason for the pros to stick with the tour, there seemed to be much more interest in the leader board last year than the Champions event, so a natural progression in my opinion.

Shoal Survivor:
Finally. One of the major criticisms of the tour was that it didn’t capture the online qualifier market as well as they could have. You only had to look at the PokerStars UK & Ireland Poker Tour to see how important this is. There probably needs to be even more involvement with online qualifiers, but this is a step in the right direction.

Grosvenor Poker League & Sharky Giveaways:
Good to see £100,000 being on the table for the live poker regulars of the G Casinos and generally more of a shift to encourage live poker. The last few years the GUKPT main events have been incredibly tough and pro saturated, hopefully this will balance them a little and get more locals involved.

Less Legs:
Some people are pointing to this as a sign the tour is suffering at the hands of PokerStars and a saturated live poker market, I just think it makes sense. There are so many live events in the UK now, which is fantastic for the industry and players in general, and the GUKPT needed to reduce their schedule to make the events they do have special again.

All in all, the GUKPT seems to have had a major facelift and they are taking a risk by changing the format as much as they have, but it’s a necessary risk. Previously you could argue that the added value was very pro heavy, but this seems like a balanced mix of added value for professionals, live player and online qualifiers alike, which is exactly what they need to do if they want to try and reassert themselves as the poker tour in the UK.


Chingster23 said...

Hi Bazza,

Good post.

If I had the time I would be a regular on this tour. My commitments to the EPT, WPT and now also helping out with Unibet means that I am traveling in Europe a lot more.

Without a doubt the UKIPT now has more prestige because of the Pokerstars factor. They really know how to organise a tour. The fact that the main event is only £500 also helps people like myself enter these things with more regularity.

I haven't played in a UKIPT yet but again would want to try and play in as many as possible if it wasn't for my reporting commitments.

When I played in the GUKPT Main Event at Blackpool I didn't find it any tougher than playing a tournament in my local pub. It was only ONE tournament so not a great sample size but that is how I felt.


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