The WSOP Circuit has been confined to the United States in previous years, but the most prestigious poker series is branching out by announcing three international stops for the 2015-2016 season.
In an attempt to get a bit more worldly, the Vegas-based tournament operator has reached agreements with casinos in Italy, Mexico, and Morocco. “It’s time to emphasize the ‘World’ in World Series of Poker and more aggressively partner with leading casino operators at the regional level,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said.
With the addition of international events, the WSOP feels it’s in a better position to officially hold a true world casino championship next year.
Qualifiers from both US circuits and those around the globe will be invited to the 2016 International Casino Championship $1 million freefroll, the WSOP’s only invitational bracelet.
Teases Come True
The idea of taking the World Series of Poker, well, around the world, first came to light after Martin Jacobson won the Main Event last November. But it wasn’t until a week ago that news got out the WSOP was headed to Italy for the first time.
The event, scheduled to begin September 16th at the Casino di Campione d’Italia, was confirmed by WSOP Director Simone Ricci who also teased, “Italy won’t be the only international locale… events are also planned for Morocco and Mexico.” Ricci’s revelation excited poker players around the world looking to experience the rush of a WSOP event, but unable to travel to the United States.
The international circuit is now official, and while three dates is a minimal start, it’s a start, and the WSOP isn’t wasting any time getting cards in the air on foreign soil. The continent hopping begins March 7th in Marrakesh, Morocco, at the Casino de Marrakesh Es Saadi.
The weeklong tournament will come with eight official rings and a variety of side events, with the Main Event and Casino Champion automatically qualifying for the 2016 International Casino Championship.
Up next, the WSOP heads to the Casino di Campione on Lake Lugano, an Italian territory enclave in the Swiss region of Ticino. The event is set for sometime in September, and while details are still being polished, organizers say to expect a similar format to that in Marrakesh.
Finally, the tour heads back west to Mexico’s Casino Jubilee de Monterrey where a circuit event will take place for the first time south of the border.
A World Series of Poker event isn’t the only benefit these three casinos will receive for their new partnerships. Perhaps the most recognized poker name in the world, they’ll also have the exclusive rights to WSOP branding, décor, and merchandise in their respective countries.
In addition, the WSOP rooms will host poker celebrities and special themed tournaments that should attract tourists and locals alike.
“One thing that was clear to me from my time spent in the poker industry is that the passion for poker is ever-present, but players crave value, excitement and superior organization,” says WSOP Director Gregory Chochon. “These new agreements will allow us to offer meaningful year-round benefits to our casino partners while giving poker players a more direct path to reach the ultimate WSOP dream.”