COVID terror keeps Unibet Open online for rest of 2021

Jon Pill
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Posted on: March 6, 2021 1:24 pm EST

Unibet will not be returning to live Unibet Open events in 2021.

Instead, as with 2020, the full year’s schedule will be moved online. The first of the year starts on March 17th. This festival will include several flagship events, including the €250,000 guaranteed Unibet Open Main Event. The Main Event is scheduled for a March 21st kick-off.

Nataly Sopacuaperu, Unibet’s Head of Events, said in a recent press release that although “many live events are starting up again this year, given the success of our online events in 2020, we plan to host all this year’s Unibet Open events online as well. There is still some uncertainty about how 2021 will pan out in terms of travel restrictions. With that in mind, we want to ensure players don’t miss out on the chance to win a Unibet Open title.”

This fits with Unibets pandemic practices so far. They were early adopters of the “live name, online nature” approach that became the standard last year.

The Unibet Open Tallinn became, in May 2020, the first online Unibet Open event ever. Usually, Estonia’s capital would have played host. And the brand followed up by being one of the first to announce they were moving their live events entirely online for 2020.

Now they have followed their own suit for 2021.

Strong and stable

As the live tourney arm of an online poker site, it was relatively easy for the Unibet Open to go online back in 2020. The whole process could be done in-house. Just a quick shift from brick and mortar locations onto the Unibet client.

Compare this to the nightmarish transition to online play the WSOP suffered through. While the WSOP does have its own website, WSOP.com is U.S.-only. The WSOP brass felt that a U.S.-only series would rather undercut the “W” in its own title. This is a lesson that baseball has yet to learn. The result was months of GGPoker software breakdowns and a series schedule that left non-hold’em players in the cold.

Unibet will no doubt keep an eye on and respond to the state of the pandemic. They may well shift back to live events before the end of the year. But for now, they have ensured that players can plan for their events well in advance with an early announcement.

In 2019, the Unibet Open events took place in Romania (February, 2019), London (May, 2019), Malta (September, 2019), and Paris (November, 2019). Unibet also held a Belgian Championship and the four-stop Unibet UK Poker Tour.

“We miss live poker. But these big online festivals recreate real buzz and excitement,” one of Unibet’s Ambassadors, Dara O’Kearney, told the press. “We just have to hope Padraig O’Neill takes pity on the rest of us and stops winning them all.”

Featured image source: Flickr