- Playground Poker which runs the Montreal Poker Festival has announced that PokerStars has withdrawn its branding from the event.
- The message from the Playground Poker rep gives the reason for the change as “unforeseen circumstances.”
- PokerStars has also stopped running online satellites, having awarded around a 100 seats so far. The event no longer appears on its promotional pages.
PokerStars has withdrawn its branding from the Montreal Poker Festival, just three weeks before it starts.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, PokerStars will not be continuing its participation in the upcoming festival,” a PokerStars spokesperson told pokerfuse in a statement.
The Playground Poker Club is in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, twenty minutes South of Montreal, and also hosts World Poker Tour events.
The news comes less than three weeks before the festival starts on August 22. The $1 million guaranteed Main Event, originally billed as the “PokerStars Montreal Festival Main Event,” will go ahead as planned, with the first of three Day 1s starting on August 29.
“This changes exactly nothing except that our friends from PokerStars won’t likely be visiting,” a Playground representative stated publicly.
“The events themselves have always been run 100% by Playground staff, dealers, floors, etc.”
Players have expressed concerns that the decision is related to the new owners of PokerStars, Amaya, who are based in Canada and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
A public announcement of the PokerStars’ withdrawal from the tournament came on the same day that Amaya announced the PokerStars acquisition was complete, fueling speculation that the two are connected.
In advance of the deal, PokerStars reassured players that they would continue to offer online poker in all existing markets.
The concern is that the new owners will take a more cautious approach to potential regulatory issues which might result in the company ceasing to serve certain so-called “gray markets,” including Canada.
In a statement issued to pokerfuse today, it was reiterated that “no other PokerStars services in Canada are affected.”
PokerStars has also stopped running online satellites, having awarded around a 100 seats so far. The event no longer appears on its promotional pages.
Seats won through satellites will still be honored, PokerStars confirmed.
Playground Poker has removed references to PokerStars from its online advertising and schedule, although the event logo continues to feature a stylized version of the PokerStars red spade.