The rising number of COVID-19 infections in Maryland has forced the World Poker Tour to cancel an upcoming live event in the state.
The news comes just a few weeks after similar issues in Jacksonville, Florida. There has been no word on whether or not the WPT intends to reschedule the series, which was due to run between Sept. 15 and 28. The host venue, Live! Poker Room, posted an update on its website telling players to “check back for any future updates.”
WPT Maryland Live put on hold
WPT Maryland Live was set to offer 16 tournaments in September. A selection of tournaments costing between $150 and $1,600 led up to a $3,500 main event boasting a $1.5 million guarantee. Players looking forward to anteing up will now have to wait for “some later date” when the organizers believe they’ll be in the “best position” to deliver a safe series.
We regret to inform you that this year’s WPT tournament scheduled for September 15th- 28th has been postponed. We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the WPT at some later date. Please check back at https://t.co/PrdKKUVck4 for any future updates.
— Live! Poker Room (@LivePokerRoom) August 19, 2021
Maryland’s daily infection rate has gradually increased since July. From a low point of fewer than 100 positive COVID tests per day, the state is now recording more than 1,000.
Despite the rise in cases, which is mainly caused by the Delta variant, daily deaths remain in single-digit territory. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also announced on Sunday that CDC data shows that 80% of adults in the state are now vaccinated against COVID-19.
Poker room remains open
Live! Poker Room remains open, despite the WPT cancellation. In addition to cash games, it’s currently advertising its $30,000 guaranteed Black Chip Bounty tournament taking place this Sunday.
It's Black Chip Bounty Week
Super Saturday pic.twitter.com/xZdTb3e2VD
— Live! Poker Room (@LivePokerRoom) August 23, 2021
Twitter user Al Mottur was quick to point this out on Twitter.
“Require vaccinations to play. This is nonsense. You aren’t closing the room or stopping your daily tournaments,” he tweeted.
Live! Poker Room hasn’t responded to the question. A likely explanation is that the WPT will attract more players than a local tournament. Moreover, the WPT would attract players from other states that may not have as high a vaccination rate as Maryland does.
Life, for the most part, is returning to normal and poker is being given a chance to thrive once again. However, COVID is far from a distant memory. This latest cancellation isn’t ideal but, given how things have been for the last 18 months, the WPT is clearly erring on the side of caution.