L.A. Poker Classic is back, but without the World Poker Tour

Jon Sofen
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Posted on March 4, 2021 8:00 pm EST

At long last, the 2021 L.A. Poker Classic is on at Commerce Casino in Southern California, but without the backing of the WPT. This year’s mini-series kicks off March 12 and runs through March 21.

The L.A. Poker Classic, a $10,000 buy-in tournament, has long been one of the most prestigious poker events around. Each year around this time, poker pros flock to Los Angeles to chase a seven-figure payday at one of the most iconic poker rooms in the world.

Last year’s L.A. Poker Classic still hasn’t fished. The tournament played down to the final table of six back in March 2020, and was scheduled to complete in Las Vegas on April 2. But the coronavirus struck, forcing all casinos at the time to close down.

Since then, the World Poker Tour hasn’t been able to find a reschedule date due to COVID-19 restrictions in Nevada. David “ODB” Baker, who won it in 2019 for $1,015,000, remains the reigning champion.

This year, the WPT won’t be a part of the prestigious event. The major poker tour hasn’t announced a reason but it likely is COVID-19 related.

Preparing for the 2021 L.A. Poker Classic

The 2021 L.A. Poker Classic will be a small series compared to past years, and there will be some COVID-19 restrictions in place. Play concludes March 21 with the $10,000 Main Event final table.

There will be nine events total over the 10-day series, and no-limit hold’em is the only game played. So, no mixed games or pot-limit Omaha, staples of past L.A. Poker Classics. Buy-ins range from $240 up to the $10,000 Main Event.

Another change this year is there won’t be any prize pool guarantees in any events. But you should still expect some sizable prize pools, especially in the Main Event.

Poker rooms in Los Angeles reopened last month, but they are only allowed to operate outdoors. That means if you enter the L.A. Poker Classic, you’ll be competing in a big tent at Commerce Casino. Don’t worry, the outdoor tent is equipped with a heating and cooling system to combat the elements.

There will be a limited number of players in these events due to having fewer tables than normal. So, it may be wise to register before the series begins. Registration is already open at the casino.

For each tournament, excluding the Main Event, registration is open through Level 5. Registration for the Main Event concludes at the start of Day 2.

There are some COVID-19 restrictions in place, per California health guidelines, beyond playing outdoors. Face masks and plexiglass dividers are required at the tables and each table will only have eight players. Additionally, eating and drinking are not permitted at the poker tables, per the L.A. County Department of Public Health safety guidelines.

If you’re coming to town for the tournaments, you won’t be able to stay at Commerce’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. That’s because it remains closed for the time being. But there are many other hotels nearby (check Hotels.com or Expedia to find a place to stay).

Featured image source: Twitter