- »APT Set to Relaunch Live Poker in Australia at Gold Coast
APT Set to Relaunch Live Poker in Australia at Gold Coast
Most of the world seems to be recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Countries like Australia closed all nonessential businesses in mid-March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and they have been using extreme caution to reopen throughout the month of June.
The Australian Poker Tour wants to bring live poker back to Australia. Some casinos are reopening around the country, but those casinos are prioritizing everything from pokies to VIP blackjack over poker. Independent poker tournament providers like the APT are ready to step up and give the people what they want.
APT Kept Hope Alive
It was a long few-month period for the Australian Poker Tour. The live poker tournament operator focused on the Aussie poker market had few options when casinos and card rooms closed. Since regulated online poker is not an option in Australia, the APT could not put their tournaments online.
This had been an option for series like the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour, since they had live audiences around the world. Even those, however, have not been open to Aussie players.
APT CEO David Miles tried to work with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to obtain approval for some type of online activity – in the form of cash satellites – but it is unclear as to the approvals and success of that project.
First Post-Shutdown Event Scheduled
Last week, the Australian Poker Tour began teasing fans on its Facebook page, promoting an announcement for June 27.
The APT delivered. The tour announced that it will host its first post-pandemic event at Southport Sharks on the Gold Coast in Queensland in September. The three-day live tournament series scheduled for September 4-6 will feature 11 tournaments.
Southport Sharks began its reopening on June 11 with the Mantra hotel facility and meeting rooms, as well as the rooftop bar. The gaming room will reopen this weekend at Southport Sharks, though it will be a gradual opening with partial capacity to start and limited dining options. If all goes well, the facility will open further in the weeks and months to come.
Schedule to Be Determined
The APT will reveal the details and dates of the series soon, but CEO Miles did note a few things.
- Formats will include 6-Max Shot Clock High Roller, Big Bounty, National Teams Event
- Overall prize pools estimated to be $300,000
- Main Event buy-in will be $200, a slight increase over the expected $175
- Main Event will offer 30-minute levels
- Each Main Event Day 1 flight will cap at approximately 200 players
Miles spoke to Poker Media Australia about the event and the relaunch of the tour. He talked about the lack of guarantees on the tournaments in the series. “No, they won’t be a factor at this stage,” he said, “and I guess that’s because, in the grand scheme of things, we just don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s why the Gold Coast will be a really good test run for us because, if we’re able to get enough people playing in the Main Event, the side events will fill up as well.”
He hopes that the players will understand the uncertainty behind the lack of guarantees, considering the state of the Australian economy. However, that Gold Coast event will be a huge determinant in what the APT is able to do going forward.
Players appear very anxious to get back to the tables. Miles noted that the APTLive Facebook page has received more than 8,000 views on the WPT Gold Coast announcement post. It has been shared more than 100 times, and at least 90 people say they will attend. Another 200 people are interested.
Changes for APT Gold Coast
Obviously, the exact layout and setup for the APT event at Southport Sharks will depend greatly upon the progress of Queensland regarding coronavirus cases and the government restrictions in place at the time.
At this point, Miles said the plan is to space tables at least 1.5 metres apart. There may be up to 10 people per table, but it will depend on the square metre guidelines and dictate from the venue. The poker floor will also be reconfigured to handle 40 tables instead of 50.
Players will be encouraged to register for the tournaments online via the APT app, which will cut down on the time required at the venue to take care of business. The app should be able to handle the buy-ins, seating assignments, and everything to prevent lines at the in-person registration desk.
At the venue, however, players will need to supply contact information to allow for contract tracing if necessary. There will likely be temperature checks, hand sanitizer availability, and mask and gloves at the ready for anyone interested.
All of this may change before September, but the plan is to move ahead with the tournament. The APT is back.