As with any other poker brands, the World Poker Tour (WPT) was forced to introduce huge changes to how they run their tournaments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of WPT live events scheduled for 2020 were cancelled, but the tour also managed to keep the action going for players and fans by organizing massive online festivals, in partnership with partypoker.
Now, as the live poker scene reopens, players can expect some of their favorite WPT events to proceed with their traditional schedules in 2021, but that doesn’t mean online tournaments will become a thing of the past for the WPT, as the brand is also keen on continuing to provide top-notch action for online tournament grinders.
Lucky Hearts Poker Open Confirmed for Jan 2021
The first WPT live event for next year will be the Lucky Hearts Poker Open (LHPO) which will take place on January 14-26, 2021 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. The festival will culminate in the $3,500 Main Event which is scheduled to run on January 22, with two starting flights. The event features a massive guarantee of $1 million. Whoever wins the event will earn a seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions, and will have their name engraved onto the Mike Sexton Champions Cup.
Apart from the Main Event, the LHPO also includes other exciting events, such as a $600 buy-in opener which will give away $300,000 in guaranteed prizes, alongside four other events that come with six-figure guarantees. Players can also choose from a range of formats and variants.
The 2020 LHPO was held back in January, just before COVID-19 went out of control. The festival announced a $2 million guarantee, but it exceeded expectations after attracting a total of 843 entries, generating almost $2.7 million in total prize pool. The Main Event was won by Brian Altman for $482,636, the first player in WPT history to win the same event twice (he also shipped the 2015 WPT LHPO).
Seminole Implementing Safety Protocols
While restrictions have been lifted worldwide as early as June, the threat of COVID-19 still lingers. In fact, some countries are seeing a coronavirus resurgence, including the US. Florida in particular recorded an average of 6,600 plus new cases each day during the past week. That is why business establishments and gaming venues are currently implementing safety protocols to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
The poker room at Seminole is currently operating eight-handed tables, each equipped with plexiglass dividers. Temperature checks are being carried out on everyone entering the establishment, and they are also required to wear a face mask. Hand sanitizers are placed at accessible areas throughout the room, and chips, cards and tables are cleaned on a regular basis.
Additionally, Seminole has installed a modern air filtration system that helps eliminate viruses. The casino as a whole is operating at 50% maximum capacity.
WPT Online Poker Open Main Event for US Players
During the summer, the WPT launched record-breaking online festivals, in collaboration with partypoker, but those festivals were only available to players on the site’s dot-com market.
The WPT makes sure US-based players aren’t left out by announcing a $3,500 buy-in WPT Online Poker Open Main Event exclusive for those based in New Jersey, and they won’t have to wait until next year for it to happen, as the tournament will take place on December 27-29, closing the year with a massive $1 million guaranteed prize pool.
It will be followed by another major online tournament that will take place as part of the WPT Main Tour – the WPT Montreal which will run on January 10-18, 2021. Players will compete for a whopping $2 million in guarantees, for an entry fee of $3,200.
Both online tournaments will give players the chance to get their names etched onto the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Other Main Tour events confirmed to take place in 2021 are WPT Russia, and the second edition of the WPT Online Series. To find out more information go to the WPT website.