Live tournament poker returns in the US with MSPT Grand Falls Casino event

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 08/07/2020

Mid-States Poker Tour announces first major US tournament series in five months

The COIVD-19 pandemic has kept the US live tournament scene shut down since mid-March, but poker players have reason to celebrate.

The Mid-States Poker Tour announced that the tour will resume, as the MSPT returns with a live tournament series throughout the month of August. The MSPT Grand Falls Casino series runs from August 6 through the end of the month, culminating with the Main Event August 28-30.

The series features $65 and $250 satellites throughout the month. Those satellites lead up to the Main Event, which runs as a $150,000 guaranteed tournament with an $1,100 buy-in.

Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa, plays host to the event. Located just outside Sioux Falls, North Dakota, the casino stands as the venue for the first major live poker tournament series in the US since COVID-19 forced casinos to shut down in March.

With those casino closures, the live poker tournament economy in the US grinded to a halt. The MSPT last ran an event in early March, but was forced to cancel several scheduled stops through the spring and summer months.

The impact of COVID-19 on the live tournament scene

Casinos across the US ceased day-to-day operations in mid-March, as the potential ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis started to come into focus. Prior to the nationwide shutdowns, the MSPT took part in a live poker scene that included multiple different tournament tours in the US.

All tournament series operating in the bustling US scene had to cancel all upcoming events. The WSOP US Circuit, World Poker Tour, RunGood Poker Series, Heartland Poker Tour, and Ante Up Poker Tour all run events throughout the year, but all of those organizations were forced to postpone or outright cancel all events for the foreseeable future.

The World Series of Poker also had to cancel the 2020 edition of the series. The 51st annual WSOP was initially slated to run from late May to mid-July from the Rio in Las Vegas.

After weeks of uncertainty, however, Caesars Entertainment announced the postponement of the biggest poker tournament series in the world on April 2020.

The WSOP responded by running an online-only series of events, awarded 85 bracelets in tournaments hosted on WSOP.com in the US and GGPoker internationally. Caesars Entertainment didn’t outright cancel the live version of the 2020 WSOP, postponing the event until the fall. Official dates for the 51st edition of the WSOP have yet to be announced.

Is live tournament poker back to stay?

Does the announcement of the MSPT Grand Falls Casino event signal the return of the live tournament poker scene is the US? Live players looking to get back into a normal routine have reason to rejoice, but how the upcoming MSPT event will unfold is unclear.

The tournament structure sheet released by MSPT states the tournament will play nine-handed from Day 2 onward. Grand Falls Casino Resort offers eight tables in its poker room, and will require all players to wear masks throughout the series.