GUKPT London to Start with Facemasks, but End Without COVID Restrictions

Football might not be coming home, but Grosvenor’s popular GUKPT is. After being stuck on the sidelines since March 2020, the live tour is making its long-awaited return to London this week.

The Poker Room London

GUKPT London gets underway this week inside Grosvenor’s The Poker Room. (Image: Grosvenor Casinos)

The action gets underway on July 14 at the Poker Room, aka the Vic. In addition to a £1,250 ($US 1,787) main event, there will be a selection of side events running through July 25. The festival is significant because it’s the first GUKPT of the new season and the first one since COVID-19 put the world on lockdown.

What’s more significant, however, is that restrictions in play at the start of the series won’t be there when it ends.

Two different looks for GUKPT London

All remaining COVID restrictions in England are set to be dropped on July 19. Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed as much during his speech in the House of Commons.

“This step forward is about balancing the harms that are caused by COVID with the undeniable harms that restrictions bring,” Javid said today.

This means players attending GUKPT London will be required to wear facemasks this week, but won’t be required to do so as of Monday, July 19. CardsChat spoke to a Grosvenor Poker representative for clarification on this issue. “You will be required to wear a facemask up until July 19,” Grosvenor’s representative told CardsChat.

This would make GUKPT London the first European poker series (that we know of) to start with COVID restrictions in place, but end without any.

The organizers are hoping this will be the start of a successful return. While there are concerns that England may reintroduce COVID restrictions in the winter, Grosvenor is using GUKPT London to resume its live tour. Leg 2 is scheduled to take place next month in Manchester before the tournament bandwagon travels across the UK. It will return to London in December for the GUKPT Grand Final.

Live poker players in England looking for a positive end to 2021

The unique situation at GUKPT London is a sign of the times. Live poker returned to England in May when stage three of Boris Johnson’s roadmap was triggered. That meant certain live entertainment venues could reopen with restrictions in place.

Poker rooms across the country have been bustling ever since, with players happy to wear facemasks and respect social distancing measures so they could ante up. GUKPT London will start with these restrictions in place, but finish without them. Everyone involved will be hoping that’s the way things stay throughout 2021 and beyond.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.



Face masks should be mandatory at poker tournaments due to very close proximity 11 people on a single table including the dealer.
It is government recommendation not Law fair enough,, but common sense should prevail in the absence of any vaccine requirement or negative test proof needed for a seat at the table it is the sensible option,, indeed the positive option to protect both players and staff from possible transmission especially in the face of a rising infection rate.
As much as i want to get back to playing live i also want to play as safe as i can and asking players to use a face covering at full tables is not exactly a hardship.
Another option would be to reduce table maximums to 7 players at least then you would have some space between people not shoulder to shoulder.

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