The World Poker Tour has finally been sold by Allied Esports Entertainment. The World Poker Tour was acquired for $78,250,000 by Element Partners, LLC. As a result of the sale, Element Partners now controls all of Allied Esports’ poker-related business and assets.
Element Partners shelled out $68,250,000 upfront and will pay the remaining $10 million over the next 3 years. The remaining $10 million will be sourced directly from entry fees from WPT-branded tournaments, which Element Partners is guaranteed a 5% share. The deal will be finalized in the next few weeks pending approval from Allied Esports Entertainment’s Board of Directors.
In the face of the numerous challenges that have been brought about by the ongoing pandemic, the World Poker Tour business continued to perform impressively. It has even managed to deliver considerable, impactful results, primarily thanks to its online platforms. As such, it makes sense that Element Partners would want to acquire the business.
The World Poker Tour has grown by leaps and bounds ever since it was founded in 2002. Since then, it has paid out sums of prize money in excess of $1 billion. The World Poker Tour is now easily one of the most renowned operators internationally. So it’s no surprise that millions of audiences from around the world tune in for its televised and online tournaments. Just recently, the Tour handed out the first main tour title since the pandemic outbreak was announced in early 2020.
The World Poker Tour main tour was handed to Ilyas Muradi for the $3,500 buy-in WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open no-limit hold’em main event. The event saw entries from over 1,573 poker players who were all looking to battle it out for the $809,515 top prize. Aside from the title and the cash, Muradi was also bestowed a total of 1,620 Card Player Player of the Year points, which currently places him in the first position at the 2021 POY race positions.
The World Poker Tour also recently crowned the 2021 World Poker Tour DeepStacks $1,600 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. Sung Joo Hyun, also a WSOP Bracelet Winner from South Korea, conquered a Field of 812 entries to bag the title, as well as the top prize of $208,335. This was the largest score the South Korean has ever made in his career.
Because of his win, Hyun now boasts 912 Card Player of the Year points, which effectively places him 7th in the 2021 POY race standings. It is worth mentioning that both of these poker events and tournaments were held live.
Are live events for the World Poker Tour back for good?
Thousands of poker players from across the country have been waiting for months to gather inside a venue for a live tournament. So when the World Poker Tour’s 2021 Lucky Hearts Open took off without any hitches, then it signaled greater things to come. So are live events for the World Poker Tour, and all poker tournaments in general, back for good?
The Lucky Hearts Open has proven that it is possible to host live tournaments safely. Case in point, the event was held at the casino’s 40,000-square-foot Seminole Ballroom, which held 60 tables that were distanced across the floor. Each table only allowed 8 competitors.
There were also Plexiglas dividers that were keeping all the players separate while the dealers were similarly separated from the players using barriers. As you can expect, all participants and dealers were required to don face masks.
Live poker tournaments, particularly ones as worthwhile and beneficial as the Lucky Hearts Open, have been missing in the poker circuit for months. The World Poker Tour canceled its live 2020 tournaments as early as March. But every effort was made to move some tournaments online.
Many tours and tournaments including the esteemed World Series of Poker, have been hosting online-live hybrid tournaments since late last year. This trend is expected to continue for the most part this year. The good news is that vaccination is already underway around the country.
As such, if things go as smoothly as anticipated, live poker tournaments should be on the table before the end of the year. There is a pent-up demand for tournament poker but the venues willing to host live tournaments and the people to attend them are few. The roll-out of the various vaccines available in the market should help to change things for the better and is a positive sign for any poker players that have been wary of mass gatherings.
Whether it is a poker tournament or a pop concert, these vaccines are critical in helping to usher back large scale live events around the world. There is still a very long way for the live tournaments scene but the progress that’s been made so far has been amazing. As things continue to get safer and more people vaccinated, the turnout at these hybrid tournaments should keep improving, which of course will translate to a higher payout for winners.
Even after most of the population has been vaccinated, it’s safe to expect that it will be some time before live poker returns to its pre-pandemic days. The progress made so far with hybrid live events has been nothing short of impressive and poker lovers are watching anxiously to see how some of these events are turning out.
There is certainly a lot of work that still needs to be done and lots of adjustments that need to be made. However, poker players and operators such as the World Poker Tour have proven that they are up for the challenge. So for now, the best thing that poker players can do is watch and wait because things have never looked more promising.