The path to normalcy is slowly coming to light as countries attempt to begin restarting their economies in combat against the impact of the ongoing worldwide pandemic. News of casinos and poker rooms being open and available once again were evident these recent couple of weeks giving poker enthusiasts across the globe hope for live poker to return to its usual state. Steadily, poker events are making their way back to the limelight as initial post-covid events are being scheduled for the upcoming months in preparation for its long-awaited resurgence.
Australian Poker Tour to host initial post-covid event
As daily reported cases in the nation remain low, major operators are aiming to get back on track with some already resuming live operations the past few weeks. One of the leading tournament hosts in Australia, the Australian Poker Tour announced its first live series since February set to occur on the 4th of September up until the 6th at Southport Sharks located on the Gold Coast. The 3-day series will feature a total of 11 events including its most popular formats such as the 6-Max Shot Clock High Roller, the Big Bounty and National Teams Event.
The 2020 APT Gold Coast series’ Main Event is also set to shift to a 30-minute blind structure for the entire schedule with multiple on demand satellites available throughout the festival. According to its official video release, the series is estimated to cover over AUD 300,000 (~USD 206,052) in prizes with no exact guarantee indicated.
In an interview released by Poker Media Australia with APT CEO David Miles, Miles revealed that guarantees “won’t be a factor at this stage” and that “the Gold Coast will be a really good test run for us, because if we’re able to get enough people playing in the Main Event, the side events will fill up as well.”
The CEO additionally said, “I love it when anyone does well [with guarantees] over the series, whether it’s APT, WPT League or APL, because that means there’s people out there playing; lots of activity, which is good for everyone, but right now, it would be crazy to set guarantees like we have done in the past, because there’s so much pressure on operators to reach them. That said, I think players will understand, especially given the state of the entire economy, unemployment rates and things like that.”
“It’s something we’ll have to constantly monitor and we’ll adjust our expectations and business model accordingly, but at least if we’re out there trying then something good will come out of it.”, he further noted.
With the full schedule yet to be released later this week, Miles also divulged that buy-ins for the anticipated series will likely be very similar to its most recent event in Brisbane earlier this year, with the buy-in for the Main Event having a slight increase from AUD 175 to AUD 200 following the same rake (AUD 175 + AUD 25).
The first post-covid event will also be taking a different route from other initial live poker operations, arranging a 10-handed set up for the duration of the series. Tables however, will still be required to be spaced out at least 1.5 meters apart in adherence to specific guidelines. Additionally, increased hygiene protocols as well as COVID Safe regulations are already in place at the location to ensure overall public health and safety.
Crown Perth poker room reopened
On June 23rd, Crown Perth announced that it will be reopening its poker room by midday Saturday, 27th following over a three month temporary halt on all gaming operations in the establishment. Gameplay however, is limited to 5 players a table due to social distancing policies in place. This comes as big news for local poker players as it is the first casino to resume live poker operations in the country.
With shorthanded play in effect, a reduced rake will be collected in response to its very limited seat and table availability.
Crown Resorts CEO Ken Barton assured guests saying, “Crown’s priority is to the health and safety of our employees, customers and the community. The physical distancing and hygiene measures have been developed in consultation with the Government, Commissioner of Police and Chief Health Officer to allow reopening in a safe manner.”
“We look forward to welcoming back many of our employees and customers to Crown Perth.”
Crown Poker Melbourne closed until further notice
Home to the Aussie Millions, Crown Poker Melbourne still remains closed with no definite plans of reopening at the moment. Considering the outbreak of COVID-19 clusters across Victoria, this decision may ultimately be the best in efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Recent reports revealed that 83% of Australia’s new cases are located within the state despite the restrictions imposed. Currently, Melbourne has embarked on a 10-day mass testing operation aiming to test at least 50% of the population in 10 suburbs. Experts believe these outbreaks are largely linked to gatherings of extended families stretching out across multiple households, resulting in problematic rates of community transmission within these areas.
Contacted by Somuchpoker, Crown Poker expressed that the “entire complex still closed with absolutely no reopen details at this stage.”
No word on Star Poker Sydney
While the Star Sydney casino has resumed operations under limited capacity, no announcement has yet been released for its poker venue. It has been a month since the complex has welcomed back its Star Club members reopening some of their gaming areas as well as a number of dining outlets. The premier poker room officially announced cancelling all poker activities until further notice last March 21st considering guidance on indoor gathering and social distancing from government and health authorities. Sydney’s longest-running homegrown poker tournament, 2020 Sydney Champs scheduled for July 21 – August 10 at Star Poker will also likely be another casualty of this ongoing pandemic.