Another strong sign that live poker is returning came Wednesday afternoon when the World Poker Tour announced their North American schedule for the remainder of 2021. The schedule includes a total of seven main tour events and is anchored by one of the longest running events in WPT history.
Season 18, which began in July 2019 and was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, wrapped up in April with the record-setting Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. That event drew 2,482 entrants, the largest event in the history of the tour.
“As we emerge from restrictions throughout North America we have bolstered the momentum from last season’s historic numbers and are eager to meet the great demand for WPT events leading up to our twenty-year anniversary in 2022,” said Adam Pliska, WPT CEO.
Season 19 is already underway with the WPT Online series on partypoker, which wraps up Wednesday.
While it’s not considered a Main Tour stop and the winner will not have their name etched on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup, the WPT did announced dates for the upcoming WPT Heads Up Championship. The $25,000 buy-in event, which has a 32-player maximum, runs June 18 – 22 and will be played on the Poker King Club online.
The schedule also includes the previously announced WPT Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, WPT Venetian, and WPT Choctaw, all of which will be wrapped up by the end of July.
In August, the tour heads to Jacksonville, Florida for the WPT bestbet Scramble. The $5,000 buy-in event runs August 27-31. The event normally runs in mid-October but has been moved due to the World Series of Poker running in Vegas from September 30 through November 17.
Just before the WSOP kicks off, the WPT will be in Hanover, Maryland for WPT Maryland at Live! Casino. The event runs September 24-28 and has a $3,500 buy-in. In September 2019, Nitis Udornpim defeated a field of 495 runners to win $319,415 and his first WPT title.
The tour then goes on hiatus until November 26 when they return to the Sunshine State for the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida. That event features a $3,500 buy-in and could showcase another huge field. Along with the record setting Showdown event in April, Seminole Hard Rock also played host to the first live WPT event since the shutdown. The Lucky Hearts Poker Open ran January 22-26 and attracted 1,573 runners for the $3,500 buy-in event.
The final event announced on Wednesday was the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. A staple of the December poker calendar, the Five Diamond has been a part of each of the 18 seasons in WPT history and the previous two each attracted more than 1,000 runners. The $10,400 buy-in event runs December 15-19.
“Live poker is back at full strength on the World Poker Tour and we are ecstatic to once again be able to provide a full and exciting schedule of events for our players,” said Angelica Hael, VP of Global Tour Management for the World Poker Tour. “We want to sincerely thank the players and global casino partners for their unwavering support during a challenging year and look forward to showcasing some of the best casino properties in North America.”