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Live Poker Tours

Seven years ago when the poker boom first began, there was really only one significant live poker tournament series, the World Poker Tour. Fast forward to today, and it seems like there's a new tour being rolled out each week. In fact, there's probably something of a live poker tour series bubble right now. I wouldn't expect to see all of these around five years from now: online poker 468x60 World Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 16 Median Buy-in: $10,000 Dates: Year-round The World Poker Tour (WPT) is responsible for creating many of poker's biggest celebrities. Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari and Gus Hansen, just to name a few, all rose to poker fame due to their success in the early seasons of the WPT. In recent years, the WPT has lost quite a bit of market share and now no longer draws the large fields they used to. Still, many dates on the tour, most notably the $25,000 buy-in WPT Championship in April, are among the most important events of the year. European Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 13 Median Buy-in: €5,000 Dates: August through April The European Poker Tour (EPT) is now perhaps the most significant poker tournament series. Currently in its sixth season, the EPT has grown steadily since its inception and is now more popular than the WPT. The events are generally softer than WPT events and have more online satellites feeding into them. Both of these factors are major contributors towards their success. Latin American Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 5 Median Buy-in: $3,500 Dates: November through April The Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) is not terribly popular primarily because of poker's infant status in Latin American regions. Currently in its third season, the average field size for LAPT events is around 300. Asia Pacific Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 5 Median Buy-in: $3,500 Dates: November through April In its fourth season, the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) holds events in Philippines, China, New Zealand and Australia. The events in Macau and Sydney tend to be the most popular. Asian Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 2 Median Buy-in: $1,000 Dates: April So wait, there's an Asia Pacific Poker Tour and an Asian Poker Tour?! Yup! Confusing isn't it? All you need to remember is that the latter series is small and irrelevant. Australia New Zealand Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 7 Median Buy-in: $2,250 Dates: February through October This series is in its second season and averages around 250 players per event. North American Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 2 Median Buy-in: $5,000 Dates: February through April This poker tour just had its first event in February where 872 players showed up for a $5,000 buy-in at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Although only two events are on the schedule for the first season, expect this series to grow rapidly in the future. Italian Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 10 Median Buy-in: €2,000 Dates: June through April Six of the ten events on the Italian Poker Tour (IPT) take place in San Remo. There are two events in Venice and two events in Nova Gorica. The final event on the schedule also appears on the EPT schedule: it is a €5,000 buy-in event held in San Remo that is wildly popular. UK & Ireland Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 9 Median Buy-in: £1,100 Dates: December through September This series holds events all over England, two events in Ireland and an event in Scotland. If you live in the British Isles, it's worth checking out the schedule since the buy-ins are quite affordable. France Poker Series Dates on schedule: 7 Median Buy-in: €1,200 Dates: May through February The France Poker Series (FPS) was just announced last week. There will be six events held all around France and one in Morocco. The Grand Final of the series takes place in Paris with a buy-in of €2,500. Russian Poker Tour Dates on schedule: n/a Median Buy-in: n/a Dates: n/a Where would the world be if the Russians didn't have a poker tour as well? Thankfully, there's the Russian Poker Tour. Unfortunately, their website is a little unclear about dates and buy-ins. It appears tournaments take place in the Ukraine (I guess we can count that as Russia) and, of all places, Egypt. Alrighty, then. I guess the organizers of the Russian Poker Tour have a little work they need to catch up on. Heartland Poker Tour Dates on schedule: 14 Median Buy-in: $1,500 Dates: Year-round Most Heartland Poker Tour events are held at Indian-owned casinos all around the U.S. This means that one need be only 18 in order to participate. I can only imagine the fields are ridiculously soft, unfortunately the buy-ins are not large enough to justify traveling this circuit. World Series of Poker Circuit Dates on schedule: 11 Median Buy-in: $5,000 Dates: October through May The WSOP Circuit was really popular when it first started five years ago. Back then, the buy-ins were $10,000 and many of the world's best players showed up to each event. Since that time, dead money has dried up considerably in live tournaments in the U.S., so Harrah's lowered the buy-in for most events to $5,000. This has helped the WSOP-C remain afloat, but many events, such as last week's in Rincon, attract fewer than one hundred players. I think that covers most of them. At least I don't think I'm leaving any out, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's a Western Sahara Poker Tour I haven't heard of yet.

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