888poker has finally joined the live-to-online tournament trend by partnering with the Italian Poker Open.
The live event was once partnered with PokerStars, but the current climate has ushered in a new deal.
With coronavirus restrictions forcing live events online around the globe, 888poker will now host the first-ever digital IPO.
A New Era for the Italian Poker Open
The online tournament action will run from May 31 to June 7 and be open to those based in Italy. Players will be able to take part in eight MTTs and compete for an overall prize pool guaranteed at €100,000/$108,000.
A €250/$270 main event tops the bill. Getting underway on June 7, that tournament will carry a €50,000/$61,100 guarantee, and the winner will become IPO Online Champion.
The company behind the IPO, EMS, apologized for canceling its live events this year. CEO Andrea Rocci said the deal with 888poker is a chance to keep the action going and expand the tour.
“We are deeply sorry for not being able to offer our players tournaments. However, the circumstances have provided us with a perfect opportunity to allow players to enjoy playing poker during these challenging times,” Rocci said in a press release.
The Italian Poker Open launched its first tournament in 2011. Since then, it’s hosted 31 events and become one of the leading local poker series in Italy. Although the recent announcement is a result of coronavirus lockdowns, Rocci is using it to diversify the IPO’s offerings.
By hosting the series on 888poker.it, organizers are able to try new things. Buy-ins for certain events will be as low as €12/$14, and online-specific formats such as fast-fold (known as SNAP on 888poker) will be used.
|Italian Poker Open Online Schedule|
|May 31||€55||IPO Opening Event|
|June 1||€109||IPO Master|
|June 2||€30||IPO Deep Stack|
|June 3||€22||IPO SNAP|
|June 4||€55||IPO 6 Max|
|June 5||€12||IPO PLO Event|
|June 6||€109||IPO PKO Event|
|June 7||€250||IPO Main Event|
888poker Steps Up As Italians Suffer
The new IPO Online schedule is certainly more diverse than its live counterparts. That, coupled with the current need for online entertainment, should ensure the series does well.
Italy has been one of the countries hit hardest by COVID-19. Long before other countries in Europe witnessed spiraling infection rates, Italy’s death toll was second only to China’s. The latest data shows 230,158 confirmed cases and 32,877 deaths from coronavirus.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte recently eased lockdown laws across the country, but encouraged residents to be sensible. Travel to other regions within the country is still banned, and businesses are restricted in what they can offer.
Even though some semblance of normalcy is returning, finding things to do at home is still the order of the day, much as it is in nearly every other country. Even when the world wakes up from the current pandemic, things are unlikely to go back to normal anytime soon, if ever.
As a result, live-to-online conversions such as the IPO new partnership with 888 could become a lasting trend, and one that both live and online operators hope will work in their favor.