A number of live World Poker Tour (WPT) events in the US were put on hold due in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The WPT has announced that they will finally pick up where they left off beginning next week. The tour has announced a new schedule for the delayed final tables, which will now run starting March 10.
The WPT was forced to cancel and postpone its live events in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it still offered players the opportunity to continue taking part in top-notch action and compete for massive guarantees by putting together a series of online tournaments, which ran on partypoker.
The WPT has been looking forward to bringing back its live events in 2021, and in January, it successfully hosted its first major live event of the year in the US, via the Lucky Hearts Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida. In February, it traveled to Russia for its second live event, and this month, the tour is back in the US, where the live final tables of three delayed events from last year will take place.
New Final Table Schedule
In 2020, the WPT put on hold three events in the US – the WPT Gardens Poker Championship was paused on January 13, with the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open following suit on January 30. The WPT L.A. Poker Classic was the tour’s final live event in the US before the COVID-19 lockdown, and the tournament was also unable to crown a winner as its final table was also delayed.
Now, the remaining players in all three events will meet again to continue the action, beginning with the WPT Gardens Poker Championship which is scheduled to resume on March 10.
Three final tables are scheduled for May – the final tables of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and WPT L.A. Poker Classic will take place on May 16 and 17 respectively, while the $2 million-guaranteed WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, which is set to run from April 23-27, will also hold its final table on May 18.
Chance Kornuth currently leads the pack in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, while Veerab Zakarian and Balakrishna Patur are the chip leaders in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and WPT L.A. Poker Classic respectively.
From HyperX to PokerGO Studio
The final tables will all take place at the PokerGO Studio outside ARIA, instead of the HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor in Las Vegas. The change in venue is expected, as the WPT has recently been acquired by Element Partners LLC.
The sale means that the WPT has now become a separate asset, and is no longer connected with esports. The HyperX Esports Arena used to host selected televised WPT final tables, with the initial aim of jointly using ideas from esports and poker to grow both entities. That has now been taken out of the equation following the sale of the WPT.
It still remains to be seen though whether the PokerGO studio will become the official venue for filmed WPT final tables going forward.
It has also been confirmed that the final tables will not be livestreamed this year, coinciding with original plans to bring the action to viewers via delayed TV broadcasts. Fans may still catch real-time updates on the final tables by tuning in to the WPT website and other news outlets. The tour’s live reporting team will provide the latest on the action.
Players to Undergo Mandatory COVID-19 Tests
Players will be asked to observe minimum health protocols, such as wearing a face mask.
For the March 10 final table, the participants will also be required to take COVID-19 tests. Players testing positive of the virus will take the ICM payout of their stack. The gaming commission approved the measure for the March 10 final table only with the agreement of all players involved. This means, things may still change during the final tables in May 2021.