WPT Cancels More Events and Plugs ClubWPT
The World Poker Tour has made some tough decisions in the past month, cancelling and postponing tournament festivals around the world. The coronavirus spread through Asia, Europe, and now North America didn’t give the WPT executives much choice. With everything from casinos to airports closed around the world, the WPT had to postpone…and then cancel many of its events.
Both the WPT main tour and WPTDeepStacks cancelled events in the past month. And the few tournaments left on the calendar for May are in question, depending upon the pandemic’s course in the coming weeks.
The WPT had something in its back pocket, though. Not only was the WPT able to join forces with PartyPoker to offer online poker in several countries, it shifted a great deal of focus to ClubWPT.
The #poker game's ON @ ClubWPT. We're all living in a new reality but that doesn't mean the fun has stopped altogether; quite to the contrary! Case in point: @WPT official home for #onlinepoker – https://t.co/OuPjYIzYCn. *NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Are you in? pic.twitter.com/fhH0wIfvNa
— ClubWPT (@ClubWPT) April 1, 2020
Growing List of Cancelled or Postponed Events
The initial list of WPT changes came in mid-March. The main tour postponements started with WPT Venetian and WPT Barcelona and extended to the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida, which had been set for early May.
WPTDeepStacks provided a longer list of cancellations due to its global reach and tighter schedule. It started by shutting down WPTDS Amsterdam after it started and cancelling WPTDS Vietnam altogether. WPTDS Maryland was the first postponed event, followed by Jacksonville and then the WPTDS Championship at Thunder Valley and the WPTDS European Championship in Deauville, France.
The WPT updated that list last week, adding the postponements of WPT Choctaw in mid-May and the WPT final tables that were supposed to play out at the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas at the end of March and beginning of April.
There were many new postponements for the WPTDeepStacks tour, including WPTDS Johannesburg, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Gold Coast, and Taiwan.
The latest update on all global WPT events, all in one place.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) March 13, 2020
The only event left on the main tour, untouched by cancellations thus far, is the WPT Tournament of Champions presented by Baccarat Crystal, set to start May 31 at the HyperX Esports Arena. It is scheduled to follow three final tables – not the aforementioned ones.
WPTDeepStacks Big Stax is the only tournament remaining on the WPTDS schedule for now, though its start date of May 15 at Parx Casino in Pennsylvania is looking shaky.
Online Options in Play
The longtime partnership between the World Poker Tour and PartyPoker came in handy at the start of the cancellations. The duo had long been planning an online component to their world tour options, so they simply moved up the start date.
The WPT announced the first-ever WPT Online Series by PartyPoker set for May 10-26 for players on the dot-com circuit. The set up a significant schedule that included 10 tournaments with the WPT name, including a WPT Main Event, WPT500 and WPTDeepStacks. Those three events will offer $7 million in guarantees, and the total 10-event series will guarantee $15 million in prize money.
Then, WPTDS announced the WPTDeepStacks Online Series by PartyPoker, this one for players in the Spanish and French markets. Action started April 5 and runs through April 20, complete with 47 tournaments and €2.8 million in guarantees for France and 44 tournaments and €2.5 million guaranteed.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see more options for poker online in the coming months.
The WPTDeepStacks Online Series on @partypoker .eu kickstarted yesterday and we already have our first trophy winner!
— WPT Prime (@WPTPrime) April 6, 2020
Focus on ClubWPT
With fewer options for players, especially those in most areas of the United States, the World Poker Tour quickly shifted its marketing focus to ClubWPT.
ClubWPT is a subscription-based online poker site. Essentially, players purchase a monthly subscription to the site and play with free-play chips. And while there are no set prize pools for tournaments, the WPT does offer $100,000 or more in cash and prizes each month. Some of the prizes are seats to WPT events.
Right now, ClubWPT is offering a free 14-day subscription for players to try it out. There are other bonuses and promotions on the site, including a New Member Freeroll each month with $5K in the prize pool.
Stuck at home with nothing to do? Play some FREE* #poker online at https://t.co/OuPjYIzYCn – @WPT's official home for online poker & social casino games. Try ClubWPT™ FREE for 14 DAYS for a chance to win $100,000 in Cash & Prizes. – *NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. pic.twitter.com/YxXz4buJpA
— ClubWPT (@ClubWPT) April 6, 2020
It had been somewhat difficult to get the faces of the WPT to play on the site due to their hectic travel schedules, but that is not currently an issue. That means Vince Van Patten, Lynn Gilmartin, Matt Savage, and Tony Dunst are playing regularly.
All four are livestreaming some of their play on the World Poker Tour channel on Twitch at various times. The current schedule for later this week is:
Thursday, April 9 at 8pm ET = Tony Dunst
Friday, April 10 at 9pm ET = Matt Savage
Saturday, April 11 at 7pm ET = Vince Van Patten
Sunday, April 12 at 4pm ET = Lynn Gilmartin
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) April 4, 2020
More interesting, all four will be bounties in the $10K Bounty Series on ClubWPT that plays out April 9-12. A player earns 5,000 tournament points by knocking one of them out. More information about the series is on the ClubWPT web page.