After Wednesday’s historic announcement that Queensland will host the 2020 AFL Grand Final, it appears the Sunshine State may also become Australia’s safe haven for live poker, with two major series scheduled from next month.
Barring any significant outbreak of COVID-19, the Australian Poker Tour (APT) is eyeing off a return to the Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane from 7 to 11 after the pandemic halted its plans for stops on the Gold Coast and in Sydney.
APT CEO David Miles is confident that APT Brisbane will go head, telling PokerMedia Australia that the group has put together its own comprehensive COVID Safe Plan which will work hand-in-hand with the venue’s own plans already in place.
“Under the existing Queensland Government parameters, we’re employing a COVID Safe Marshall for the whole five-day series,” Miles said. “We’re also going to ensure that our tournament directors have completed a COVID Safe certificate and we are working with Eatons Hill to make sure players scan in and out of the venue using their electronic registration system.
“In the areas we’re occupying, we’ve got a total allowable capacity of 490 players, which is why many of our events will be capped; we also don’t have as many tables this time and have spaced them out more to ensure that we’re compliant.”
Advance registration and payment for tournaments via the APT App will be highly encouraged, with players receiving a QR code which they can then scan at a checkpoint upon arrival in order to receive their allocated table and seat number, without having to stop at the registration desk.
“Ultimately, we’re doing everything we can to make sure people come into our poker room and feel safe while having a great time,” said Miles. “We certainly don’t want to put the whole industry in jeopardy by doing this; we want to do the right thing, grow player confidence and keep live poker viable for the future.”
The 14-event schedule, which was initially released last Monday, is comprised of many of the most popular APT tournaments and will kick off with a two-day $100 buy-in Opening Event. Other key events on the list include the $1000 buy-in Players Championship, the National Teams Event and the 6-Max Shot Clock High Roller.
However, the Main Event has undergone some major changes, based on extensive player feedback obtained during the APT’s hiatus.
The Main Event buy-in has been bumped up to $200, and the length of the blind levels increased to 30 minutes in duration. The two-day schedule has also been changed to a repechage format, with players only allowed to buy in once per Day 1 flight, as opposed to taking multiple re-entries in the same flight.
For more information, including the full schedule and access to Eatons Hill Hotel room specials, log onto www.australianpokertour.com.au.
Meanwhile, the Australian Poker League (APL) is also gearing up for its first big tournament series since the APL Million in Sydney back in March.
From 25 to 29 November, The Ville Resort & Casino in Townsville will host the third edition of The Ville 600, billed as the largest poker event in Far North Queensland.
While the official schedule is yet to be finalised, organisers have confirmed there will be at least $100,000 guaranteed in cash and prizes with an array of tournaments on offer, including a $1200 buy-in Super High Roller Event.
In the meantime, local players have been given ample opportunity to qualify for the $600 buy-in Main Event via the “Race to The Ville,” a $120 buy-in Accumulator series running through until Sunday and in lieu of the “Big Dance” which was originally scheduled for this week.
More importantly, it will be a critical dress rehearsal for the November series, particularly when it comes to implementing their COVID Safe protocols.
“The tournament will be run six-handed in a semi-shootout format to avoid players moving tables too much,” explained Full House Group Queensland Franchisee Allan McLauchlan. “Cards will be changed out at each break and players must wash or sanitise their hands every time they move tables.”
Entry into the poker room will be strictly monitored, with no spectators permitted and numbers capped at 125, including staff. McLauchlan didn’t mince his words, stating, “We don’t have COVID in north Queensland at present and we hope it stays that way.”
Special accommodation and buy-in packages for The Ville 600 are still available to purchase. Log onto www.theville600.com.auto find out more.