Europe’s longest-running live poker event, the Irish Open, will take place online this year due to the new coronavirus.
In a press release issued by Partypoker, Irish Poker Open organizer JP McCann outlined the drastic change of plan.
The event was due to be held in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel from April 6 to April 13. However, with coronavirus killing off poker tournaments around the world, it will now take place on Partypoker.
Irish Open to New Ideas
The Irish Open Online Series will run between April 6 and 12, and replace the live festival this year.
“Since our announcement last week regarding the postponement of Irish Open 2020, considerable efforts have been made to find an alternative date to run Irish Open 2020. However, as the uncertainty surrounding live poker events continues, we feel that the best decision to take at this point is to cancel the live festival for 2020,” McCann explained.
The centerpiece of the festival will be a multi-day, €1 million/$1.09 million guaranteed main event. Alongside that, a selection of smaller buy-in tournaments and satellites will be available on Partypoker.
In recent days, Partypoker has also allowed the WPT to take its brand of live poker events into the online arena. Following this with a virtual version of the Irish Open is clearly a statement of intent. However, while the show will go on, the festival will lack some of its usual charm.
In as much as players descend on Dublin for a chance to play poker, they also enjoy the famous Irish craic. With 2020 marking the festival’s 40th anniversary, the festivities were set to be better than ever.
Coronavirus Creating Opportunities for Poker Players
One player who was looking forward to the revelry is CardsChat Ambassador Jacki Burkhart. With the live event canceled, her trip to the Irish Open is off. As a US resident, she won’t be able to take part in the online series, but she’s happy that operators are finding ways to adapt.
“I think the option to move anything online is a great step. We want to show governments around the world that online poker has value. It would be so cool if we were in a position to have other major events, such as the WSOP, moved online during times of crisis, and in general,” Burkhart told us.
The positive in moving the Irish Poker Open online is that it could spawn a new generation of online festivals. Although virtual MTTs may not be true replacements for events such as the Irish Open, they could be a nice accompaniment.
Poker operators are continually searching for ways to grow, and supplementing live events with online counterparts could work. The WSOP has already proved this is possible, and the current coronavirus crisis may be the push others need to follow suit.
While coronavirus is a problem, it has forced operators to innovate. If the Irish Open Online Series proves to be a success, it could open the door to new ways of working. That, in turn, could create more value for players in the future.