Last year, International Stadiums Poker Tour made huge waves by announcing that they wanted to hold the biggest tourney ever at Wembley Stadium. Many players scoffed when ISPT claimed that they would offer a €20 million prize pool, with first place collecting €10 million of this amount. What seemed even more unrealistic was how ISPT predicted their tournament would attract 30,000 grinders, making it the largest poker event ever.
In the end, these predictions fell far short of reality. ISPT Wembley attracted 761 players and offered a €2,643,985 prize pool. Sure this is very good for a normal tournament, but it was expected to be a tourney of historic proportions.
One of the biggest debacles arising from ISPT Wembley was the original €6,000 buy-in. For a tournament that was supposed to attract 30,000 runners, this amount was far too high. And it was only until later that organizers realized this and scrambled to change the buy-in to €3,000. But even cutting the entry fee in half wasn’t enough to attract a sizable number of players.
It’s also worth mentioning that ISPT Wembley guaranteed €1 million to the winner – an amount which consumed nearly 40% of the total prize pool. By the time the six-player final table was formed, those involved merely decided to divvy the money up and leave an extra €200,000 for the winner. This champion turned out to be Poland’s Jakub Michalak, who earned €436,000 thanks to the extra €200k winner’s payout.
From a sheer numbers vs. expectations perspective, ISPT Wembley has to be considered one of the more disappointing poker tournaments in history. However, those who participated did say that Wembley Stadium offered a tournament atmosphere unlike anything they’d ever seen. Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi even dubbed it the most “‘beautiful tournament in the world.”
But atmosphere aside, ISPT suffered a major financial hit with this event. And it’s questionable as to whether they’ll stage another tournament, or simply fade away like the disgraced Epic Poker League.
ISPT Wembley Final Table Results
1) Jakub Michalak, €436,000
2) Xavier El Fassy, €204,000
3) Nick Hicks, €254,000
4) Pete Linton, €375,000
5) Alban Juen, €290,000
6) Gwendoline Janot, €243,000