PokerStars Postpones EPT Barcelona and PSPC to 2021
Poker tournament operators have been forced into making some tough decisions this year. The World Poker Tour cancelled scores of events around the world. The World Series of Poker postponed its massive 2020 WSOP summer series, as well as a long list of WSOP Circuit events.
Live poker has essentially been closed from early March and through most of May.
PokerStars also cancelled a few live tournament series, most of them on a smaller and more localized scale. But the company’s management left one big event on the schedule for as long as possible, hoping that the world would resume some type of normalcy on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic. That event was the PokerStars Players No Limit Championship, better known as the PSPC, set for Barcelona in August.
This week, however, PokerStars decided it could no longer prolong the decision. It officially rescheduled the tournament and the EPT Barcelona around it until sometime in 2021.
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) May 22, 2020
Big Barcelona Plans
The inaugural PSPC in January 2019 was a smashing success. The idea of offering a $25K buy-in tournament for the masses, with chances for players around the world to qualify for a fraction of the cost, delivered what it promised.
When it flew hundreds of players with Platinum Passes to the Bahamas in January 2019, following many with their full buy-ins in hand, the tournament made poker history. There were 1,039 players in the tournament altogether, and the prize pool amounted to $26,455,500, including an extra $1 million gift from PokerStars to the winner.
Ramon Colillas, winner of one of those Platinum Pass prize packages, won the tournament. The 30-year-old Spaniard won $5.1 million and became a part of history. Further, he became an official PokerStars Ambassador one month later.
Riding on that success, PokerStars announced a second PSPC, one to run in conjunction with the European Poker Tour (EPT) stop in Barcelona in August 2020.
PokerStars immediately set up schedules to run through the remainder of 2019 to award €26,466 platinum passes. People quickly began winning the prize packages, and promotions and small live poker tournaments were scheduled to run through the first half of 2020. Hundreds of players would qualify to play in the 2020 PSPC in Barcelona.
Consequential Decisions in the Making
That was the plan for the second PSPC…until the coronavirus pandemic swept through Europe and many other parts of the world. Not only did it become unsafe to gather in large groups and play any games in a casino, it became difficult – if not impossible – to fly.
⚠️ COMUNICADO OFICIAL
EVENTOS ➡️ https://t.co/um1BTnoxTE
— Casino Barcelona (@CasinoBarcelona) March 12, 2020
As of the end of May, some non-essential businesses are opening their doors once again. Restaurants are welcoming some diners in limited fashion. People are taking to small shops and regular exercise routines once again.
Casinos, on the other hand, are being extremely cautious about reopening to the public. Many in Europe are not close to reopening. Casino Barcelona is one that is not yet prepared to unlock its doors.
At the point that only three months remained before the scheduled start of the PSPC, the casino could not commit to hosting it. Players couldn’t commit to traveling to Barcelona for it. And many of the satellite tournaments that had promised Platinum Pass opportunities had not been able to do so, as their host casinos had not been open for months.
PokerStars made its decision and announced it this week. They decided to move the PSPC and EPT Barcelona to sometime in 2021.
Managing Director Severin Rasset noted, “We realize that this news will come as a disappointment to many, but we know you will understand and appreciate why this is necessary. Our priority is the safety and good health of all of our players and staff, as well as the communities that host such large events.”
Executives have not yet rescheduled the events, but PokerStars will continue awarding Platinum Passes. But instead of relying on land-based casino venues to host satellite events, they will provide alternative ways to win.
PokerStars already planned to surpass the 320 number of Platinum Passes for the second PSPC, but now they will add another 80 to that number. There will be at least 400 prize packages awarded.
And for those players already holding passes, they have been contacted – or will be very soon.
There are a few things confirmed thus far. Casino Barcelona will be the 2021 location. PokerStars will do everything possible to accommodate Platinum Pass winners regarding hotel and flight rebooking. And when PokerStars makes more decisions, they will convey that information as soon as possible.
PokerStars is communicating the PSPC cancellation directly to players today to try and offer clear information and advice to those affected.
Platinum Passes will remain valid for the event in 2021, and the tournament and location remains the same. https://t.co/iEQHqKaff0
— Poker Industry PRO (@pokerindpro) May 22, 2020