Online poker's biggest operator, Pokerstars, has ended its sponsorship of the North American Poker Tour for reasons that have not been clarified by the company, but are believed to be the result of intervention by Californian gaming regulators.
The Pokerstars North American Poker Tour will, however, still be held at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles this week, re-branded as The Big Event in an agreement between the casino and the NAPT.
There will be some changes, however - the main event will not be filmed for ESPN (although the Bounty Shootout will) but will instead be streamed on webcast via Live at the Bike.
Online qualifiers will be able to defer their buy-in, but full-package winners will not be able to defer their hotel portions of the package.
Jeffrey Haas, a spokesman for the NAPT, posted the following advisory at the twoplustwo forum this week:
"The North American Poker Tour LA event scheduled for March 5 to 12, 2011 at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, California, will proceed as planned, but not as a NAPT event.
"The NAPT and the Bicycle Casino reached the voluntary decision to hold the event without branding after constructive discussions with California gaming regulators.
"Due to the above, the following changes have been made to the tournament:
"The Main Event will continue as planned but it will no longer be filmed for ESPN. It will, however, be webcast. Players can see it via "Live at the Bike".
"The Bounty Shoot Out will still be filmed for ESPN, and will now be filmed over three days (March 10-12) with two Day1s on the 10th and 11th. The final table will occur on the 12th as planned.
"The Main Event structure will not change, and the full schedule of Side Events will still provide an incredible experience for all players. We have been working closely with the Bike for the past few months to provide a great schedule for players, and the Bike is dedicated to the success of the whole festival.
"We will allow online qualifiers the option to defer their buy-in to a future NAPT event, but we will not defer the Hotel portions for full-package qualifiers.
"Our (Pokerstars pro) team are still planning to be present at the event to provide support and guidance to our players, and all activities planned around the event will still go ahead.
"All the player bags will be given at the Hotel, together with the party wristbands. We do hope to still see you in LA for what will still be an amazing tournament."
Source: InfoPowa News