Seminole Hard Rock Tampa poker room takes down plexiglass dividers

Geoff Fisk
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Posted on May 28, 2021 5:05 pm EDT

Upcoming WPT Main Event will play plexiglass free

The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa hosts a World Poker Tour Main Tour event next month, and players in attendance won’t see plexiglass partitions at the WPT tables.

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa made an announcement on its Twitter account Friday morning that seems to be going over pretty well with poker players so far. The Tampa venue uninstalled the plexiglass dividers from its poker room Thursday, and isn’t planning on using the partitions for the upcoming WPT event:

“UPDATE: We removed the plexiglass in our poker room yesterday and do not have current plans to use them in June for our @WPT festival. Thanks again for reaching out and safe travels,” reads the tweet.

Plexiglass at the poker table became the norm in the COVID-19 era, along with eight-handed setups and enhanced sanitation protocols.

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa responded to a player query on Twitter earlier this week, stating that the plan for the WPT event involved “70 socially distanced tables setup in the Event center with plexiglass dividers for 8 handed play.” That Twitter response was posted on Tuesday.

Just three days later, the venue reversed course on the plexiglass. Friday’s update doesn’t clarify whether the WPT event will still play eight-handed, but we do know that barring unforeseen circumstances, the plexiglass dividers won’t be part of the festival.

WPT brings the Main Tour to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa for the first time

Florida’s booming live poker scene saw record-setting attendance at Seminole Hard Rock’s sister property in Hollywood, FL last month. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown shattered expectations, which were already pretty high leading up to the festival.

The April series promised a $2 million guarantee Main Event to close out the series. The opening tournament at the festival actually exceeded the $2 million mark on its own, a sign of things to come for the WPT return to south Florida.

The $3,500 Main Event drew 2,482 entries, the biggest attendance for a WPT Main Event in the two-decade history of the tour. Eventual champion Brek Shutten took down the win for a $1,261,095 payday at the tournament’s final table in Las Vegas.

Can the WPT Tampa Main Event reach those same heights? The last major tournament festival held at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa did big numbers in its own right.

The Tampa Poker Classic Main Event ran from Feb. 25-March 1, drawing 959 entries for the $1,700 buy-in event. James Kerr came away with a $228,038 first-place prize in that tournament.

The upcoming WPT festival could go even bigger. COVID-19 vaccinations have become much more readily available since the Tampa Poker Classic, and the Florida live poker economy has proven it can draw significant interest for events throughout the state.

The WPT Main Event caps off the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Summer Series. The festival runs June 9-22, with 21 primary tournaments and a bevy of satellite qualifiers on the schedule.

The Main Event runs June 18-22. The tournament comes with the signature $3,500 entry for WPT Main Tour events and promises $2 million in guaranteed prize money.

The removal of the plexiglass at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa provides one more step toward live poker’s return to normalcy in the U.S. The WPT Tampa series could draw attendance that’s well above normal, however, if recent events in Florida give any indication.

Featured image source: Twitter