Need for social distancing takes priority
Continuing the trend of the past week, yet more live poker tournaments have been postponed as measures are put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
On Tuesday, WPT Enterprises CEO Adam Pliska announced that the three World Poker Tour final tables that were set to play out in a couple weeks will be postponed.
“With public health welfare a priority and in line with government and agency directives, we will tentatively look to hold these tables in May with our second set of televised final tables,” Pliska said in a public statement.
Outlook for future final tables not good
As Pliska mentioned, the goal is to move the final tables to late May, when two other delayed final tables are scheduled. The final table of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown is scheduled for May 28 at the HyperX Esports Arena, while the final table of the WPT Choctaw Main Event is slated for May 29.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has closed its poker room in an effort to maximize social distancing
The coronavirus is posing more problems than just the postponement of the first three final tables, though. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has closed its poker room in an effort to maximize social distancing. As a result, the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event, which was to run the first week of May, has itself been postponed. No future date has been set.
WPT Choctaw, whose Main Event is slated for mid-May, is still on, but as we have seen, situations are changing daily.
The WPT Tournament of Champions is also scheduled for May 31 through June 2. All three days will be hosted by the HyperX Esports Arena. It, too, is still a go, but it and the other tournaments discussed above are all very much at risk, particularly because Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak just ordered the state’s casinos to close for at least 30 days.
To replace some of the tournaments that have been postponed, the World Poker Tour created the first WPT Online Series with partypoker. It will take place May 10 through May 26 and will feature the $3,200 buy-in WPT Online Championship with a $5 million guarantee.
Delayed final tables meant to create poker spectacle
The World Poker Tour’s delayed final concept debuted last season. Nine final tables were played out at the HyperX Esports Arena, rather than at their original host casinos. This change was made shortly after the World Series of Poker abandoned the November Nine concept, which lasted from 2008 through 2016.
the idea behind the delayed WPT final tables is to create a spectacle, a grand sporting event
Though the WSOP November Nine never really lived up to its hype, the idea behind the delayed WPT final tables is to create a spectacle, a grand sporting event. The HyperX Esports Arena is a 30,000 square foot, multi-level arena with 50-foot LED screens. Other sports have their grand venues; the WPT wants to have its own.
It was also a business decision. It is cheaper and easier to have one final table television stage, rather than building and tearing down six at different casinos. In addition, in late 2018, Black Ridge Acquisition Corporation bought both WPT Enterprises and Allied Esports International. Allied Esports owns the HyperX Esports Arena. It is only natural that Blackrock would want to host WPT final tables there.