Even small gatherings aren’t a good idea
The World Poker Tour (WPT) announced on Tuesday that it is postponing this season’s televised final tables because of the coronavirus pandemic. Three final tables were scheduled to be held at the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas inside the Luxor from March 31st through April 2nd. The WPT hopes to move them to May with the other three televised final tables.
“As part of this extraordinary community, while adapting to unprecedented conditions, I am confident that, as in the past, together we will endure and find ways to meet the challenges of these times,” wrote WPT Enterprises CEO Adam Pliska. “In the meantime, we remain committed to all our players, fans, and partners and to our guiding principle that the best is yet to come.”
The other three, which have yet to be played and therefore do not have their final tables scheduled until May, are the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, WPT Choctaw, and the WPT Tournament of Champions. The Tournament of Champions is slated to be played in its entirety at the HyperX Esports Arena.
Outlook not so good
The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown has already been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The casino closed its poker room on Tuesday and it will remain closed indefinitely. WPT Choctaw is still on, though at the rate coronavirus is spreading in the United States, I, personally, would expect it to be postponed eventually, as well.
In fact, I would not count on any of the above tournaments and final tables being played in May.
As of Wednesday, there are now over 8,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States. On Tuesday, there were 6,411. On Monday, there were 4,663. Eight days ago, the number had yet to hit 1,000. We will need to see a significant slowdown in the spread of the virus for poker tournaments to get off the ground in May.
But we’ll see, I suppose.
Take it online
To somewhat make up for the lack of live tournaments, the World Poker Tour has teamed up with partypoker to launch the first WPT Online Series.
The Series will run May 10th through May 26th. The entire schedule featured ten events and $30 million in combined guaranteed prize pools.
The highlight event is the $3,200 WPT Online Championship, which gets started the very first day with the first of five starting flights. The final starting flight will be held on May 25th. Days 2 and 3 of the WPT Online Championship are on May 25th and May 26th. The tournament features a $5 million guarantee.
Also featured during the two-plus weeks are a WPT500 event and a WPT Deepstacks event.
Hermance Blum, WPT VP Europe said, “$7 million in guarantees for WPT events alone on partypoker is an exciting breakthrough for our partnership, and we can’t wait to crown our first WPT Online Championship winner and see them in the WPT Tournament of Champions presented by Baccarat Crystal.”