WPT, partypoker to Host $500,000 Shooting Stars for Charity Event for COVID-19 Research

  • 1 Day Sooner is a non-profit that seeks volunteers for human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • The charity event has a $1,100 buy-in and a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool
  • Participating poker pros will have $500 bounties on their heads
  • The tournament is part of the $100m WPT World Online Championships
Gloved hands forming a heart shape
WPT and partypoker are hosting the $500k Shooting Stars for Charity event July 29-30 to benefit 1 Day Sooner, a charity seeking volunteers for future COVID-19 vaccine trials. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

COVID-19 charity gets $50k minimum

As part of the upcoming WPT World Online Championships, the World Poker Tour and partypoker are teaming up to host the Shooting Stars for Charity event. Benefiting 1 Day Sooner, a charity aimed at finding a cure for COVID-19 through human challenge trials, the $1,100 buy-in tournament has a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Shooting Stars for Charity will feature a number of poker pros and celebrities with $500 bounties on their heads. Already confirmed are 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Ryan Riess, Igor Kurganov, Sam Trickett, 2017 Poker Masters winner Steffen Sontheimer, and rapper Alejandro “Papo MC” Lococo. Kurganov has already said that he is donating all of his winnings to the charity.

help the fight against COVID-19”

In the tournament’s announcement, WPT VP Europe Hermance Blum said: “This event is primed to help the fight against COVID-19 and we are pleased to welcome the bounties who will play on July 29.”

The Shooting Stars for Charity event is a two-day tournament, running July 29-30. It will be live-streamed on Twitch, YouTube, and partners’ channels. No matter how many players enter, at least $50,000 is guaranteed to go to 1 Day Sooner.

Echoes of WPT past

The “Shooting Stars” name and bounty feature of the charity poker tournament is a callback to the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star. Arguably the most popular event on the WPT’s Main Tour, Bay 101 debuted in 2004, the World Poker Tour’s second season. To the poker world’s great surprise and disappointment, it was removed from the Tour schedule starting in 2018.

Bay 101 was loaded with poker pro bounties. The player that knocked out one of these “Shooting Stars,” denoted by a medal they wore, would win $2,500 and a t-shirt with the Star’s face emblazoned on it. Tradition was that the pro would also autograph the shirt and pose for a picture afterward.

Though nobody likes to be eliminated from a tournament, the bounties always had fun with Bay 101, win or lose. Women in Poker Hall of Fame member Maria Ho said of the event: “It’s such a unique and fun tournament that I never miss it.”

Had Bay 101 Shooting Star still been on the schedule, it would have been in late February or early March in between the WPT L.A. Poker Classic and the WPT Rolling Thunder. The three west coast stops in a row were called the WPT California Swing.

Another massive WPT online series

The WPT World Online Championships, of which the Shooting Stars for Charity event is a part, runs July 17 – September 8. Also held on partypoker, the series consists of a dozen events, not counting the charity tournament, and $100m in guaranteed prize money.

Main Event is a four-day event with two starting flights and a $10m guaranteed prize pool

Eight of the tournaments have three buy-in tiers, one has two tiers, and three – the High Roller, Super High Roller, and Main Event – have just a single buy-in level. The $10,300 buy-in WPT World Championship Online Main Event is a four-day event with two starting flights and a $10m guaranteed prize pool. It kicks off on August 29.

Five of the tournaments, including the Main Event, are official WPT Main Tour events and thus reward their winners with membership in the WPT Champions Club. The four non-Main Event tournaments in this group are $3,200 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em events with $3m guarantees. Though they are all of the same game type, they vary in format, with 8-Max, 6-Max, Mix-Max, and Knockout represented.

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