As the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, multiple countries have imposed quarantine restrictions on their citizens bringing life to a standstill and restricting them to their four walls. All industries and sectors have been dealt a huge blow, including the live poker tournament scene.
Since February, a number of major poker events have been cancelled and the trend is expected to continue if the situation persists. As organizers pull the plug on live events, the attention has now shifted online, with a number of major festivals now set to host an online edition.
Unibet Open Tallinn – Online Edition
Unibet Open Tallinn, the latest live event to be hit by the pandemic, will now take place online on the Unibet Poker client. Instead of the May 20-24 original schedule, the tournament will now be moved to May 24-25.
The Unibet Open Online Main Event, which features a buy-in of €1,100 now becomes the largest ever buy-in event to be hosted by Unibet Poker. It comes with a guarantee of €100,000. Not only that, a €100 buy-in Mini Main Event will also take place during the two-day online tournament.
Unibet Poker is also hosting a series of satellites, giving players the chance to win their way into the Main Event for just a fraction of the price. Organizers will release additional details once the schedules and structures are finalized.
Nataly Sopacuaperu, Head of Events at Unibet said the COVID-19 pandemic force the company to stop their day-to-day activities. The team wanted to make a positive move for players by deciding to hold the Unibet Open online, eliminating the need for players to travel with lockdowns in place across the world. Sopacuaperu also said now that the event will now take place online, more players can take part, resulting in a more fun and exciting experience.
Unibet Ambassadors who were originally announced to grace the live event will also join the action online. The company’s newest ambassador David Lappin will be at the virtual tables to give his best shot at capturing his first title, while Irish poker pro Dara O’Kearney will also compete, aiming to win a slice of the €100,000 guarantee.
Sopacuaperu also said that trophies will still be given away to winners, and they will also livestream the event.
Irish Open 2020 Goes Online
Another major tournament that will now be held online is Europe’s longest-running poker festival – the Irish Open. The 2020 edition of the festival will run online in conjunction with partypoker. It kicks off on April 6, and will run through to April 12.
Players and fans were left disappointed last week when organizers announced that Irish Open 2020 would not push through, but the disappointment has now been replaced with joy and excitement following the latest announcement.
The Irish Open Online Main Event will still carry a whopping €1 million guaranteed prize pool, with tons of satellites also running. With the huge prize money on offer, a lot of players are expected to take part in the tournament, coming from different parts of the globe.
Irish Open organizers have thanked partypoker for offering to host an online edition of the massive festival. JP McCann said that for now, the best alternative to make sure that Irish Open pushes through is by holding it at the virtual tables. The festival is now on its 40th year.
The full schedule of the 2020 Irish Open Online is still being finalized and further details on the events and structures will be announced soon.
As the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the live tournament scene, organizers are now shifting towards holding events online, resulting in new possibilities for the online poker industry.
Last week, the World Poker Tour also announced its first-ever WPT Online Series, which will run on partypoker on May 10-26. The tournament comes with a $30 million guarantee. Interest in online poker will continue to soar over the next few months, until holding live events is deemed safe.

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