Dubbed the PokerStars Championship Sochi, this tournament will run at the Sochi Casino & Resort from May 20-31. The $2.6 million guaranteed prize pool makes this by far Russia’s largest poker tourney. However, players also need to front $5,590 if they want to enter.
It seems that PokerStars is trying to one-up partypoker, which announced a $1 million gtd. event. Partypoker’s tourney will also run at Sochi Casino from March 12-27, and the Main Event buy-in is $1,100.
Edgar Stuchly, live events director for PokerStars, believes that Sochi offers the perfect conditions for a major poker tournament.
“Sochi is a premier location for hosting world-class events and we are looking forward to bringing PokerStars Championship Sochi to this exciting location,” said Stuchly. “With its vast array of 5-star hotels, outdoor activities, and 300 sunny days a year, alongside a brand new casino, Sochi is fast becoming a prime vacation spot and gaming destination, all in one.”
Igor Kurganov, who’s arguably Russia’s most-famous poker player, is excited about the prospect of a multi-million-dollar tourney in his home country.
“I’m excited to see PokerStars first ever sponsored live event in Russia and will be competing in the events, of course,” said Kurganov.
Just last year, PokerStars disbanded the European Poker Tour. But they’re definitely not giving up the live scene, pushing into Russia with a strong effort. They still lead global online poker traffic with 14,000 cash players an hour, while partypoker is the world’s eighth-largest site with 1,050 players.
Based on the timing of both the poker series, PokerStars used partypoker’s announcement as a chance to trump them in the Russian market.