Everyone has been excited by the 2021 World Series of Poker. The schedule has run without incident, even being able to shift on the fly with the announcement of two new Day Ones for the Championship Event due to international restrictions for COVID being eased. But poker players always have to be looking for that next tournament – now they might have one.

European Poker Tour Returns to Action

Recently PokerStars announced that their iconic European Poker Tour, which has been shuttered since the worldwide COVID pandemic at the beginning of 2020, would be returning to action. The location will be the Hilton Hotel Prague for the 2021 EPT Prague, featuring three different EPT events for poker’s denizens. It will all kick off soon after the completion of the 2021 WSOP Europe has completed its run at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

First up for the EPT’s return to action will be the EPT National tournament. This will be a €1100 buy in tournament (€100 juice) that will run from December 9-13. There will be no time wasted as the EPT Main Event, a €5300 (€300 juice) No Limit Hold’em tournament, will run for the next six days (December 13-19). The final table of the Main Event will coincide with the run of the EPT High Roller from December 17-19, a €10,300 tournament.

There will be several protocols taken with COVID in mind, however. Everyone entering the Hilton Hotel Prague must wear a face mask, have a temperature scan, and show proof of vaccination OR proof of a negative test. There will also be a heightened attentiveness towards social distancing and cleanliness of the tournament arena.

“We’re so excited to welcome our community back to our live poker felt with one of our most famous and well-loved poker tours,”said Severin Rasset, Managing Director of Poker at PokerStars. “It’s been such a long time coming and we’ve been working tirelessly and monitoring the situation carefully so that no stone is unturned for a safe return to live events and a great experience for our players. The health and safety of players and staff is of paramount importance, and we have a number of measures in place to ensure everyone attending feels comfortable and confident.”

Perhaps most importantly, Rasset stated that the EPT and PokerStars are looking to 2022 for an expansion of the schedule. “We’re looking forward to seeing the community and comradery from our players and we plan to announce more event details in the coming months. See you in Prague!”

Busy End to 2021

It is certainly going to be a busy end to the 2021 tournament poker season.

With the 2021 WSOP ongoing until November 23, there is not going to be much time for players to make the trek across the Atlantic for the events in Rozvadov. First preliminary events for the 2021 WSOP Europe start on November 19, meaning players are going to have to head directly from Las Vegas to the Czech Republic. The WSOP Europe runs through December 8, which runs right up against the European Poker Tour Prague dates. It also has to be noted that, although travel restrictions are being eased, there is still the potential for a reinstatement of those travel bans should a COVID outbreak occur and the potential for the tournaments to be affected also.

In the States of America, there are several tournaments that are scheduled for December. The Seminole Rock n’ Roll Poker Open, a World Poker Tour event, is scheduled to begin in mid-November and finish in December. That will lead into the traditional pre-Christmas stop by the WPT at the Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Wrapping up the year will be the 2021 PokerGO Tour Championship, a $50,000 High Roller event that, scheduled for December 20-22, might be sparsely attended because of its proximity to Christmas.

With further improvements in the COVID outlook, the world’s tournament organizations should start returning to action with few or fewer restrictions. The EPT was the last one of the major poker tours to hold off on a return to action (its last live event that was not in Sochi, Russia, was the 2019 EPT Prague), and it is good to see it come back.

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