Pencil in March 2022
PokerStars has announced new dates for the recently postponed European Poker Tour Prague festival. Originally scheduled to start this week, EPT Prague has officially been moved to next year, March 5-16, 2022, at Hilton Hotel Prague in the Czech Republic.
“We know that there is a huge demand from the PokerStars community to see our live events return in full and we are excitedly working towards that, but we must be flexible along the way to ensure our players stay safe and healthy, and the experience is an unforgettable one for all the right reasons,” said managing director and commercial officer of poker at PokerStars Severin Rasset in Monday’s press release. “We understand the impact not running these events has on our players and staff, and we hope that the upcoming EPT Online series will provide players with an enjoyable alternative this December. We have also committed to allocating $100,000 from EPT Online to all the Live Event Staff who have been impacted by the postponement.”
The full, revised schedule is yet to be released, but what PokerStars has revealed is that the €5,300 EPT Prague Main Event will run March 10-16.
COVID-19 still running amok
A recent, massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic was the cause of the rescheduling. On November 26, daily new cases skyrocketed to nearly 28,000 after barely being over 400 two months earlier. The number has since declined, but is still nearly 20,000. The seven-day moving average of new daily cases almost hit 19,000.
As such, the Czech government issued a 30-day state of emergency, effective November 30. Included in the emergency rules is a ban on all Christmas markets and drinking alcohol in public. More relevant to poker, venues such as casinos, bars, and restaurants must close by 10:00pm and attendance at culture and sporting events is capped at 1,000.
Those who plan on attending EPT Prague next year will need to furnish a valid COVID-19 vaccine certificate or provide official proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the previous 180 days. Accepted vaccines include two doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.
All is not lost
The World Series of Poker Europe, currently going on at King’s Resort, had to scramble to adjust its tournaments mid-stream in light of the emergency order. The first two flights of the popular Colossus event were dropped and the remaining flights were capped at 1,000 entrants. All events also had their start times pushed up to 10:00am in order to try to get all play in before the curfew.
Fortunately for tournament organizers and the poker players, it seems like things have been running fine overall. The WSOP Europe Main Event set a record with 688 entries.
To try to make up for the absence of the live EPT Prague this month, PokerStars, as mentioned by Mr. Rasset, has brought back EPT Online. Scheduled for December 8-19, EPT Online features 68 tournaments and more than $17 million in guaranteed prize money.
The $5,200 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event is on December 19 and has a $1.5 million guarantee.