The Covid-19 pandemic has for sure swept a cloud of uncertainty on a good number of businesses in various regions. For walk-in establishments such as casinos, businesses are still struggling to come up with innovative ways to beat the social distancing regulations.
A lot of the plans that organizations had for 2020 were postponed indefinitely until the sting of the pandemic wear down. One such even is the World Poker Tour – the date slots for 2020 would however not be allowed to go in vain. For this event particularly, the point of interest is in the fact that one year later, the finalists who had been passed to participate in the final round are still waiting for the event to hold.
The 2020 World Poker Tour Garden Poker Championship happens to be among the popular poker events to be frozen in 2020. This is however not the only WPT event that was affected by the Covid-19 situation. The 3 days period between March 31 and April 2 of that year had been set aside for the trio of World Poker Tour, WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and WPT L.A. Poker Classic.
The venue of the tournament a year ago was to be the HyperX Esports Arena in the L.A. based Luxor. It is not surprising that when the strict social distancing guidelines were issued, these are some of the events that were heavily affected.
The good news to fans of these three events along with those of the 2021 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown will bring to a conclusion the events of 2020. The venue has been changed and the finals will be played out at in Las Vegas at the PokerGO Studios.
For everyone who was gearing up for the finals of the WPT Garden Poker Championship, the wait has just been declared as over. This means that although finalists and fans had to wait for a whole 422 days to see who walks away with the championship title, it is definitely going to happen. Hopefully, the finalists took this time away from active competition to sharpen their skills, develop new strategy and prepare their minds for the big task that they were yet to accomplish.
By the time the final round of players bagged their chips on January 13th, 2020, they were only meant to take a break of 11 days before they resumed for the championship race. One of the finalists for this particular event is a past winner of the Galfond Challenge, Chance Kornuth.
Kornuth is also a 2-time bracelet winner at the World Series of Poker. Judging from past performance, this is definitely the favorite contestant with the highest chances of winning the current title.
Starting from May 16 to May 18, the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open will be catching up with 2020 stalled events. The specific event will be one among three final rounds that took a break in 2020 but have now come back to compensate for lost time. the other events that will take place over this time slot will be the WPT L.A. Poker Classic of 2020 and the WPT SHR Poker Showdown of 2021.this time around, there will be no time wasting and less than a month will be allowed for players to prepare for the finalist round.
Speaking about the plan to bring back the stalled events of 2020 instead of scrapping them out and starting afresh, Matt Savage, who is the Executive tour director at WPT, mentioned that the tour organizers are keen on the safety of their players. The focus with regard to safety is not only directed at partner casinos in destinations such as New Jersey but also staff who without them the tour would not happen.
According to Savage, all social distancing protocols in their partner casinos have been observed and the events can now he held. He was however concerned that the finalist might have to wait a bit longer to converge since safety is of paramount importance. Unless there is a way to have all of them travel without risking Covid-19, Savage is not too quick to plan for days ahead.
In a decision made by the WPT, Savage has communicated that all players who during the 2020 championships made it to the final round were awarded cash prizes equivalent to 6th place wins. The management hopes that the players are safe wherever they are and will be ready for the tables when the time is right.
With the world currently in talks for possible Covid-19 vaccines, the final round of WPT events may be held sooner than it had been earlier anticipated. Regardless of when an effective vaccine or control for the pandemic is out, the alternative for most poker games tournament is to turn to online platforms. Betting services providers like PokerStars already have a training center for their players where both new and experienced poker fans can gain from a tip or two to improve their performance.
While the proposed new venues might be beneficial for breaking the monotony of play, it could also be a backlash as a result of ownership change. The WPT was early on in 2021 acquired by Allied Esports who are also the legal owners of HyperX Esports Arena. The transfer of ownership was valued at an estimated $78,250,000.
Although 2020 is long gone, there are still unfinished businesses from that particular year. It might be a good idea to restart some championships from scratch but it is also exciting to see how eager fans are to carry on from where they left. For the WPT, entry fees into the tournament had already been paid so it makes sense that the organizers will want to give players real value for their money.
All must agree though, that hanging on to past membership is the best way for the WPT to communicate to poker fans as well as reinvent itself post-Covid.