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PokerStars combining golf and poker in Portugal

2 Aug 2010

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The PokerStars EPT Vilamoura stop is not just home to the richest poker tournament in Portugal, it's also set in one of the world's most celebrated golf havens. So it's no surprise that PokerStars has come up with a unique contest which combines both golf and poker skills.

The EPT Vilamoura 'Fairways and Felts Challenge' is a brand new type of event in which players will first have to battle it out on the green grass of the golf course and then on the green felt of the poker table.

The €1,100 buy-in event will take place during the last two days of EPT Vilamoura's Main Event on September 1-2, 2010 – the second event of Season 7 of the European Poker Tour. Players can win their seat online as well as buying in direct on the PokerStars client.

The first leg of the 'Fairways and Felts Challenge' will see players take to the beautiful tree-lined fairways of Pinhal Course, a stunning championship course set in rolling parkland terrain only a few minutes from Vilamoura Marina. Players will be randomly allocated to teams and, following an established "Texas Scramble" format, scores from each member of the team will be taken into account.

Players' performances on the golf course will then determine the number of chips they start with on the second day of the contest – a No Limit Texas Hold'em Freezeout poker tournament to be held at Solverde Casino in Vilamoura.

Scores of top poker pros are keen golfers, including members of Team PokerStars Pro. Poker legend Daniel Negreanu is famously hooked on the game and even holds business meetings while testing his pitching and putting skills, while former world champion Greg Raymer has been known to trade poker for golf lessons. In Portugal this September it will be British Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly who hosts the EPT Vilamoura 'Fairways and Felts Challenge' – as well as a unique Players' Dinner and Prize Ceremony after the event.

JP Kelly said: "I haven't been playing golf that long but I'm already well and truly hooked. Golf is a perfect antidote to the stresses of the poker table – it's physical but also includes the kind of mental challenges that poker players relish. Vilamoura is home to some of the best golf courses in the world – in fact, the entire resort was built around courses – so I am very excited at the prospect of playing there. I'm even hoping to go out early with friends to get some practice in beforehand."

The €1,100 'Fairways and Felts Challenge' buy-in includes both golf course green fees (but not club hire) and entry into the poker tournament. The package is split €770 + €70 for the poker, €260 for the golf. Players will get free transport to and from the golf course from the Solverde casino or Crowne Plaza hotel, a goodie bag filled with golf and poker swag, breakfast and lunch served at the golf course and an awards ceremony and dinner at the end of Day 1.

To be eligible for the Challenge, all entrants must comply with Pinhal's dress code. Payout details and tournament structure will be released nearer the time.

EPT Vilamoura Main Event is a €5,300 buy-in event running August 28–September 2, 2010, at Solverde Casino in Vilamoura on Portugal's stunning Algarve coast. A total of 322 players competed last season, creating a total prize pool of more than €1.5 million and making it the richest poker tournament ever held in Portugal. The event was won by local businessman Antonio Matias, who triumphantly took the title and €404,793 first prize after beating scores of top players from around the world. Satellites for this season's EPT Vilamoura Main Event are running now on PokerStars until August 22.
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