More Live Events Cancelled: Is the Live Poker Scene Dead Until 2021?

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world for the last six months, ultimately killing off the live poker scene along with many other things.

By: Mark Patrickson

Live festival after festival has fallen by the wayside, either being postponed or cancelled. The poker media has mainly concentrated on the loss of many World Poker Tour events along with the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.

Fortunately, the online operators stepped in to give us the best of what was possible, even if we do still have this separation between the US market and the rest of the world.

But what about the rest of the scene? Not just in Las Vegas, where we receive news daily on what the latest situation is, but the grassroots scene too.

New Normal

Casinos and card rooms all over the world have started to open up but with international tourism still heavily sedated the number of customers is terribly low. It’s not all down to tourism factors too.

There are still groups of casinos in Las Vegas closed that generally cater to local residents rather than holidaymakers. It looks like even those that are able to travel are choosing not to given that there is still so much disagreement over the risks.

Card rooms now have to adhere to local regulations related to COVID-19 which causes its own set of complaints. Many potential players are of the opinion that being forced to play short handed while wearing a mask just kills the enjoyment for them.

It was also recently reported that Las Vegas casinos are driving the number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada up dramatically. A nonprofit group specialising in abuses of power claim to have scientific proof of this fact.

With news like this coming out it wouldn’t be surprising to see the screws tightening once more with politicians attempting to swerve any criticism.

The Future

The prevalence of high-profile festivals helps to drive the live poker scene by enticing new players and attracting the interest of online grinders.

Without this stimulus it is uncertain that live poker will return to normal any time soon. Most events unable to run were shelved rather than appearing online.

Only last month the Triton Super High Roller circus was due to arrive in London but local casinos were still not permitted to open. Triton has become one of the most popular brands in the game, showcasing the very best talent poker has to offer.

Now we will have to wait until next year to witness the real crushers battle.

A message posted on their website read: “It’s vitally important to us that we provide you with a safe environment, not only to play the game you love, but to travel to and from the incredible locations that host Triton events.”

The World Poker Tour did move some events online but there are still plenty of final tables waiting for a suitable venue. All this waiting around is likely to leave some live players sticking to the online arena.

In the UK, even though some card rooms have reopened, the premier place to play is still closed.

Dusk Till Dawn, Nottingham, has decided to wait for more clarity on the situation before opening its doors. Owner Rob Yong recently did a reconnaissance at other venues in the UK but didn’t like the new look of plexiglass screens and enforced masks.

It would be a shame if we can’t get the scene booming again for Christmas, but it is starting to look like we will have no choice for now.


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