World Poker Tour cancels August WPT bestbet Jacksonville stop

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on 08/03/2021

The World Poker Tour and Florida’s Bestbet Jacksonville casino have confirmed the cancellation of the WPT Bestbet Scramble series scheduled to run in late August. Bestbet Jacksonville announced its decision via social media on Monday, which was quickly confirmed by the WPT.

The August 13-30 series was scheduled to include 20 different events, including its main event starting on August 27. Bestbet Jacksonville cited increasing uncertainty over COVID-19 resurgence as the cancellation’s cause:

This is the second straight year that the WPT’s planned Jacksonville has been cancelled for pandemic reasons. Bestbet Jacksonville had previously hosted at least one WPT stop every year since 2012.

State returns to COVID-19 ‘hot spot’ list

Bestbet Jacksonville’s cancellation reflects growing concern that the state’s latest pandemic surge has yet to peak. On Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Florida had hit a record daily high for “Delta” wave infections. Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. That’s the highest daily total since the 2020 holiday season, when a previous COVID-19 surge crippled the state’s winter tourism industry.

Florida’s COVID-19 infections have surged by more than 50% over the past week. The state also ranks as one of the U.S.’s worst four states for Delta infections. One out of five of all new U.S. infections have occurred in the Sunshine State.

Regular Bestbet Jacksonville cardroom operations to continue

The distinction here is that only the WPT series is cancelled. The cardroom, which offers poker cash games and other table games, will carry on with its other offerings. The WPT cancellation may be due to concerns over long-distance travel for many of the stop’s likely attendees. Coupled with Delta’s high infectivity rates, the WPT series could’ve become a vector for increased disease transmission. Bestbet Jacksonville, however, has yet to provide additional reasoning for its decision.

The news is disappointing to at least one of the WPT tour’s regular players. Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler wondered about the distinction between the WPT series offerings and the room’s other action. “I don’t get it,” he tweeted. “Its safe for cash games but not tournament play?”

Kessler then inferred that if the cancellation was due to possible travel issues, it was misguided:

Kessler had no plans to attend all or part of the Jacksonville series himself. “No chance,” he commented to Poker.org, when asked about such a trip.

Featured image source: Facebook/BestbetJacksonville