Shortly after cancelling some of their major events all around the world due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Poker Tour (WPT) announced that they were partnering with one of the world’s leading online poker brands in partypoker for the first-ever WPT Online Series.
Both parties have been praised for acting quickly by coming up with an alternative option and making sure poker players still get to experience the action they’re craving for despite being on home quarantine.
The inaugural WPT Online Series features a massive $7 million guarantee, including $5 million up for grabs in the WPT Online Championship.
So how did all of this come about?
WPT CEO Adam Pliska revealed in an interview that the company actually began putting things together around three years ago. Pliska said they have been in talks with a number of online poker sites over the last few years for the development of an online real-money poker tournament product, and partypoker fits the bill.
Since 2018, the WPT and partypoker have teamed up in a number of live events, including those held in Europe, and Pliska said the terrific partnership has helped them establish a strong foothold in the region.
World Poker Tour
Both brands have already organized an online schedule even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which started in Wuhan City, Hubei, China in December 2019. They just wanted to be fully prepared before introducing the series to the online world. The WPT Online Series was actually already scheduled for May even before this current global health crisis.
When the coronavirus outbreak reached pandemic status, the live poker scene has been greatly affected with major live events around the world being cancelled one by one, though a few have been moved online.
So everything came down to timing. The coronavirus pandemic has forced people to stay at home, resulting in a surge in online activity. Players and fans shifted to online poker, as reflected in high traffic recently reported by online poker sites. The demand was clear, the timing worked out well and the WPT Online Series got the go ahead!
Dealing With Challenges
The timing obviously worked out well for the WPT, and now the main challenge is how to make this new format a successful one, considering that it is their first time to hold an online series. Pliska said they will now focus on marketing the online series and take steps to still continue to promote poker amid these trying times!