PokerStars is heading back out on the road in December for its first trip to Prague since 2019.
The Czech capital has been a popular stop on the European Poker Tour (EPT) since 2007. However, with COVID-19 restrictions forcing PokerStars to park its tournament bandwagon for more than 18 months, last year’s event played out online.
This year, however, vaccinations, plus the natural waning of the virus, have made live poker tournaments possible. That means EPT Prague will run from Dec. 8 to 19, assuming there aren’t any last-minute restrictions introduced.
Cards to fly in December
PokerStars is finalizing the schedule, but players can expect 12 days of tournaments and cash games at the Hilton Hotel Prague. In addition to direct buy-ins, there will be online satellites starting at just €1.10 ($1.25).
There will be five prize packages worth €7,200 ($8,300) up for grabs on PokerStars’ international network. Winners will receive a free seat in the EPT Prague Main Event along with an eight-night hotel stay, and money for travel expenses. PokerStars will also be offering a variety of satellites and prizes packages for players on its Spanish and French networks.
Although the full roster of events is yet to be published, three tournaments have been confirmed.
- Dec. 9 -13: €1,100 EPT National
- Dec. 13-19: €5,300 EPT Main Event
- Dec. 17-19: €10,300 EPT High Roller
PokerStars’ managing director, Severin Rasset, made clear at the event’s announcement that there will be COVID-19 safety precautions in place throughout the festival. “It’s been such a long time coming and we’ve been working tirelessly and monitoring the situation carefully so that no stone is unturned for a safe return to live events,” Rasset said.
EPT Prague COVID-19 rules
In addition to PokerStars’ own safety requirements, traveling players will have to follow the Czech Republic’s national COVID-19 guidelines:
- Visitors from all countries, including those on the Czech Republic’s green list, must complete a track and trace form on arrival; click here to download a PDF and see how your country is classified
- People who are vaccinated or who have had COVID-19 shot in the past 180 days don’t need to take tests or self-isolate on arrival (must show proof of prior infection/antibodies)
- Visitors who haven’t been vaccinated or don’t have proof of prior infection will have to take tests on arrival and self-isolate
- Face masks are obligatory outdoors, but only if two and more people from different households are within two meters of each other
- Entry to various social settings, including restaurants and shops is permitted; the majority of venues are allowed to operate at 100% capacity, but proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test on entry is a requirement in most cases
For EPT Prague specifically, PokerStars has set out the following rules:
- Players must wear a face mask inside the casino
- Players must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before they can enter the venue
- Players will be given a temperature scan as they enter the casino
- Social distancing will be in place throughout the venue, with players being kept two meters apart, where possible, when not at the table
- Personal protection equipment (PPE) will be available on request
- All players and staff will be encouraged to sanitize their hands on a regular basis
- PokerStars, in conjunction with the Hilton Hotel Prague, will perform enhanced cleaning routines throughout the casino
COVID-19 infections in the Czech Republic have increased slightly in recent weeks, but that’s to be expected as respiratory viruses thrive in the winter months. Despite the uptick, daily infections remain significantly lower than they were at the country’s peak (see image above) and deaths, on average, are below five per day.