The march of major live poker tournaments going online continues, this time, with the World Poker Tour. This one is a bit different, though, as the WPT has created both a new online-only event, not related to anything that was previously planned to be live, and has made it an official part of the Main Tour. The $3,500 WPT Online Poker Open Main Event will be held on the partypoker US Network in New Jersey December 27-29.
This is the first time a World Poker Tour online event in New Jersey will count as a Main Tour event. This means the winner gets their name on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup, becomes a member of the WPT Champions Club, and will be awarded a $15,000 seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions. The WPT Online Poker Open Main Event also awards Player of the Year points like any regular Tour event would.
“The WPT Online Poker Open brings the most prestigious prize in poker to New Jersey and the partypoker US Network,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour, in Wednesday’s press release. “WPT’s continued pivot toward online will continue with another landmark for regulated online poker in the United States.”
Though players do need to be physically located in New Jersey to participate in the tournament, they do not have to play on partypoker’s New Jersey client. BorgataPoker.com and BetMGMPoker.com are also part of the partypoker US Network and open to players in the Garden State, so people who have accounts on one of those sites don’t have to create a new account on partypoker.
The World Poker Tour is encouraging everyone to make sure funds are in their account ahead of time to pay for the $3,500 buy-in, just in case there are any issues. Players may deposit funds from anywhere; they do not have to wait until they are in New Jersey to do so, if they plan on traveling from out of state.
The last live World Poker Tour stop to be run was the WPT Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in California March 7-10. It was essentially that week that shutdowns started to be put in place around the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All domestic live events since then, starting with the WPT at Venetian that was scheduled to begin March 13 have been postponed or outright cancelled.
Smaller, regional events have started to get back up and running around the world, but neither the World Poker Tour nor the World Series of Poker have ventured back into casinos. The World Series of Poker did, however, just announce a new hybrid $10,000 Main Event that will start online and conclude with a live competition.
The European Poker Tour is the only major tour that has resumed live tournaments to any degree. The EPT Sochi (Russia) Main Event attracted 637 entries in early October.