The Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour is returning in 2021 after a long hiatus from live events. The new series will begin with the main course, a £200,000 guaranteed Main Event held in London. The series will be kicking off on July 15, 2021 and running until July 25.
The GUKPT was last played live in Feb 2020. After the GUKPT Manchester event played out that month, the whole franchise was mothballed. Ben Dobson won the Manchester event, becoming the last GUKPT live champion for 18-months.
The government closed casinos along with much of the economy in March 2020. With the brick and mortars closed, the series did continue online, with nominal locations being granted to the various events. The casinos reopened briefly in the Summer of 2020, but Grosvenor didn’t risk running large events like the GUKPT in their live locations and so the series continued on the web.
Then the economy closed again.
Now, the vaccination program is barrelling along. And hopefully the government has learned its lessons from the previous fits of incompetence. Certainly, someone in the G Casino’s top-brass is feeling optimistic about things. Or desperate.
The second reopening of casinos started two weeks ago. So far the infection rate still seems to be declining across the nation. Perhaps the G Casino top-brass’s optimism will prove justified.
What we know about July’s GUKPT Main Event
The GUKPT Main Event will be held in Grosvenor’s flagship location: The Victoria Casino in London. If things are anywhere near their pre-pandemic levels, there should be plenty of cash game side action during the event. The Vic usually runs a range of no limit hold ’em and pot-limit Omaha games with blings anywhere from £1-£2 to £50-£100. Sometimes these games go on 24/7. This is unusual in the UK, where casinos tend to close in the small hours and reopen some time after lunch.
The Main Event will be coming with a £200,000 (~$284,000) guarantee, and will have a buy-in of £1,250.
If the government’s plans stay on the rails, then the event could be nine or ten-handed. At the moment, poker tables are limited to seven players maximum, with perspex dividers and masks. These limits should be lifted on June 21, giving the Vic almost a month to fine-tune their table set up between then and the Main Event. This will allow them to figure out exactly how their clients’ tolerances have changed to things like having a London cabby on full anger-tilt right up in their personal space.
Given the scale of both the Vic and the GUKPT brand, this looks like it will be the first major test of the UK’s post-pandemic demand for live poker. Not everywhere is opening in concert with the government plans. Most notably, Dusk Till Dawn is remaining closed for the time being. Closed to players, that is, they are still relatively open if you’re willing to break the windows.
So far, the details for exact scheduling and any side events remain unknown. But we will keep you updated as the picture crystalizes.
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