It might not be the action-packed summer of poker tournaments that many Brits want, but things are heating up on the live circuit.

Grosvenor Casinos are hoping to host their first live event in over 15 months when their GUKPT bandwagon hits London on July 15th. (Image: GUKPT)

Following an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in mid-May, casinos in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are once again welcoming poker players. Cash games, especially in London, are attracting solid numbers, and we saw the first live tournament in over a year taking place at the Hippodrome.

Now, with more restrictions due to be lifted on June 21, Grosvenor has announced the return of its GUKPT.

Grosvenor hedges his bets

Although there is talk of delaying the final stage of unlocking England, Grosvenor is hedging his bets with a £ 1,250 tournament starting July 15. GUKPT London will be the tour’s first live event since March 2020, and it will take place at The Poker Room on Route Edgeware.

Artan Dedusha won the last main event of the GUKPT in London on February 2, 2020. From there, the Grosvenor tournament team traveled to Manchester. No one knew at the time that Ben Dobson’s victory on March 1 would be the last we’ve seen in over 15 months. Barely 22 days later, all parts of Britain and Ireland were plunged into a series of lockdowns.

Casinos were given the option to reopen later in the year, but poker was next to impossible due to COVID restrictions. The GUKPT kept their tour alive by hosting online events. Now, with the easing of COVID restrictions, it looks like big live events may return to all parts of the UK.

The London Hippodrome recently hosted a weekend tournament, proving that tournaments can resume, even with some restrictions in place, such as face masks and plexiglass screens. Indeed, the main issues with hosting live tournaments in the UK so far have been capacity limits and player movement.

Cash games are easier to manage because players tend to stay at the same table for long periods of time. Then, once they’re gone, the area can be cleaned up before another player sits down. Tournaments involve a lot more movement, which, in turn, makes it more difficult to meet COVID restrictions. This is less of a problem now, as long as the casinos keep the player count at a manageable level.

Popular GUKPT events require unrestricted play

However, that won’t be enough for Grosvenor if he wants to host a GUKPT event in London. Dedusha beat 379 players when he won GUKPT London in February 2020. Current restrictions would make a tournament of this size a logistical nightmare.

Therefore, the hope is that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will honor his pledge to lift all remaining restrictions on June 21. If that happens, Grosvenor and all other UK casinos should be able to host events the same way they did before COVID-19. But it’s still a big if at this point.

The United Kingdom average number of daily deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test in the past seven days is eight.

UK covid deaths

COVID-related deaths in the UK remain consistently low. (Image: Worldometers)

There has been a slight increase in positive tests, but hospitalizations remain low thanks to more 76% of the adult population having at least one jab vaccine. The statistics are more encouraging than ever, but members of the government are unwilling to rule out a delay when all restrictions are lifted.

Any delay could derail Grosvenor’s plans to host an event in London on July 15. at the mercy of Boris Johnson and his government.

Written by

Daniel smith

Dan Smyth is a poker media companion who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all over the world, not just in America.

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