The sun is shining, birds are singing in the trees, and the world is opening back up again. Casino after casino has reopened, and many states have expanded to nine or ten-handed poker. Finally, after a long, hard wait, we get back our beloved poker tournaments. Or do we?
We live in New England, which we once named one of the five best places in the country to live if you love poker. In February 2020 there were no fewer than seven poker rooms hosting large tournaments (which I define as regularly having over 50 entrants) in New England. Today there is one (Filotimo Casino in Manchester, New Hampshire, if you are interested). All but one of those businesses are still open. Two, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield, continue to thrive as casinos, but have dropped poker “indefinitely”. The other four are seating as many cash tables as space will allow, but have decided not to resume tournaments “at this time”.
Recently I reached out to other players to see whether this is a local phenomenon (time to move?) or whether tournaments have been back-burnered elsewhere in the country as well. Reports indicate that this is, in fact, a widespread concern. Players reported a dearth of tournaments in places as varied as Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Seattle, Detroit, and even LA. However, there are some areas where tournament poker still thrives. Florida, Texas, Maryland, and of course Vegas all have plenty of tournaments on offer.