Thursday, May 28, 2020 / by Ken Couture
The World Poker Tour still has its sights set on Las Vegas for its tournament final tables that were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Three events had been scheduled to be completed at the HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor on March 31 to April 2.
WPT executive tour director Matt Savage said officials were still planning to finish the events in Las Vegas.
Date to be scheduled
“Yes, once the casinos reopen and we are confident our players will be safe, we’ll schedule a date and time that gives our players enough notice to prepare and attend,” he said via email.
The three events played down to the last six players earlier this year before play was stopped for the filming of the final tables in Las Vegas. The events are the Gardens Poker Championship in Hawaiian Gardens, California; the Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City; and the L.A. Poker Classic in Los Angeles.
Savage pointed out that not only would casinos have to reopen for the WPT events to be rescheduled; gaming officials would also have to change their current guidelines that call for poker to be played with only four players at the table.
The delay has left the players waiting to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings. They were each awarded the sixth-place money already guaranteed to them ($111,795 to $185,330, depending on the event), Savage said.
However, there are huge pay jumps on the ladder up from sixth place to first, with the winner earning $554,495 in the Gardens event, $674,840 in the Borgata tournament and $1.015 million in the L.A. Poker Classic.
Those home casinos are holding the remaining prize money until it can be transferred to the final table venue, Savage said.
The WPT announced in 2018 that it would start playing the final tables of its events in Las Vegas instead of the home casinos. CEO Adam Pliska has said the move was motivated in part by a need to reduce production costs by having a centralized venue.
Actors Jason Alexander, Jon Hamm and Kevin Pollak, NBA star Pau Gasol, surfer Kelly Slater and chef Jose Andres will play a charity poker tournament starting at 5 p.m. Pacific time Thursday to benefit Andres’ charity World Central Kitchen.
The event, dubbed “The King’s Celebrity Poker Challenge,” will be played on the WPT’s online platform (ClubWPT.com) and will be streamed on Twitch (twitch.tv/worldpokertour). Hole cards will be shown, as in the WPT’s live poker broadcasts.
Sponsor Budweiser will donate $125,000 to World Central Kitchen, which is providing meals to people affected by the pandemic.
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