Kings Casino, Home of the WSOP in Europe Sold!

Jonathan
12 Jun 2024
Jonathan Raab 12 Jun 2024
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  • Leon Tsoukernik Sells Kings Casino, home of the WSOPE
  • Sale price believed to be in region of €300-€400m
  • How Tsoukernik Created the Biggest Poker Venue in Europe
Kings Casino, Rozvadov
Kings Casino, Rozvadov. Photo by Mairo Toom, Courtesy of The Festival Series
Leon Tsoukernik Has Sold Kings Casino, Rozvadov, the Home of the World Series of Poker in Europe

Leon Tsoukernik has reportedly sold his stake in King Casino, Rozvadov, the largest poker casino in Europe. The news comes just weeks before the venue is due to celebrate 21st birthday, having opened its doors to customers in 2003. 

The news of the sale broke on the German language poker news and information site Hochgepokert, where it was reported that Tsoukernik is making a complete break from the gambling industry, also selling his stake in Kings Hotel Resort, Kings Casino Prague (at the Hilton) and Admiral Casino, also located in Rozvadov. 

The article stated that two interested parties had completed the purchase, Scott Hanna and another un-named party, with Scott Hanna assuming operational control of the business. It also attempted to put a value on the sale, suggesting that Leon’s stake in the business was worth as much as €300m-€400m.

Within a few hours the article had been pulled, raising the question abut whether this was due to accuracy or timing. However PokerWired has received confirmation from sources within Kings Casino that the sale has gone ahead and is public knowldge.

Poker To Stay at Kings Casino

Being such an important venue in the European poker scene, it will be natural for players to have concerns about what it means for the future of poker at the venue. PokerWired also received assurance that poker will continue to be the main focus for the venue in the short term, medium term and long term. 

It would be hard to imagine the venue without poker being its main focus. The new owners and management team remain committed to retaining the casino’s status as the number one poker venue in Europe.

Leon Tsoukernik: Dream Like a King

Tsoukernik’s love of poker inspired him to build the biggest poker room in Europe, in the unlikely location of Rozvadov, a small village in western Czechia, close to the German border. 

He began by scheduling weekly tournaments with ambitious guarantees, which overlayed almost every single time for the first few years of the venue’s existence. 

This approach worked and gradually the range of the casino’s customer base expanded further and further. By 2012 the casino could rightly consider anyone within a 300km radius of the venue to be a local player. 

It was not long before Tsoukernik’s began to fulfil his ambitions, attracting major live event operators to host their events at Kings Casino. PokerStars’ Eureka Poker Tour was one of the first big €1,100 buy-in events to take place at the venue, in 2012.

In the years that followed, many major international event operators brought poker tours to Kings Casino, Rozvadov. Events by Party Poker, 888, the World Poker Tour and many others began to fill up the calendar.

Luring the EPT to Rozvadov

Leon always said he had two key ambitions for Kings Casino, firstly for it to host a European Poker Tour event and secondly to host the World Series of Poker Europe.

The first challenge was always going to be difficult, as PokerStars was already committed to EPT Prague as one of the most popular stops on the tour. 

At that time Kings Casino wasn’t quite big enough to host an EPT, but Leon solved that problem by building a huge extension to the original casino, which could hold 80 tables (it was later extended even further to be able to accommodate over 100 poker tables).

However, despite the increased capacity, it was still not enough to lure PokerStars to schedule an EPT event there, although they did host several editions of the Eureka Poker Tour, sponsored the venue’s own Kings Cup and held a live version of the Sunday Million there.

Kings Casino Expansion

Kings Casino Rozvadov clearly had the space to hold an EPT, but not enough on-site hotel rooms. The casino had hoovered up every available hotel and bed and breakfast room within 50 miles for its guests to lodge at, but had only a few rooms on the premises. 

Undeterred, Leon expanded the property further, building a lavish new extension to the existing casino and installing a permanent tv table for the streaming of live poker games. He also built a 5-star hotel adjacent to and interconnected to the casino. 

While players had affectionately referred to it as RozVegas for many years already, Kings Casino became more and more Vegas-esque as it grew. 

Home of the World Series of Poker in Europe

The EPT was still not budging from Prague, but Leon did achieve his other ambition in 2017, when Kings Casino hosted the WSOPE for the first time. 

The World Series of Poker in Europe was initially intended to be held for one or two years in Rozvadov, as it had been set up as a nomadic event that frequently moved to new locations. However the residency was extended every year and now, eight years later, Kings Casino can legitimately call itself the long-term home of the WSOPE.

The Kings Casino brand is now heavily linked with the WSOP, as every summer in Las Vegas Kings Casino operates the Kings Lounge, a high stakes cash games poker room and VIP hospitality lounge.
WSOPE 2011
The WSOPE at former host Barriere Casino, Cannes in 2011 Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Leon Did Host the EPT After All

Although he never enticed the EPT to hold an event in Rozvadov, he did the next next best thing and bought out the existing casino at the Hilton in Prague, therefore ensuring that the EPT would be held at a Kings Casino operated venue, despite not being in Rozvadov.

Keep Calm and Carry on Playing Poker

Kings Casino, Rozvadov hosts poker events all year, most recently The Festival Series, a mixed games focused tour.

Despite selling Kings Casino, Leon Tsoukernik is still likely to attend the venue as a player. Next week the venue will celebrate its 21st birthday and even though he may have now handed over the keys, he's still expected to fly himself there for the occasion, parking on his private helicopter pad behind the casino.

Tsoukernik lives not far away from Rozvadov within his private estate, which includes a lake with sturgeon (the only thing that Leon was unable to get insured when he built it) and an extensive fine art collection. The rarest and most unique piece in his private collection is an 18th century child's cot, previously owned by Napoleon Bonaparte.

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