Live poker gaming seems to be few and far between these days due to the coronavirus outbreak. Players are finding it difficult to locate live gaming options due to local restrictions. Plus, it is not easy to travel outside of your region, particularly in the United States. However, for other parts of the world, restrictions have eased quite a bit and live poker is taking place. This week, it was announced that PokerStars is preparing for the European Poker Tour stop in Sochi, offering up satellites for players to earn an entry.
The EPT Sochi was originally supposed to take place in March. However, this was when the pandemic shutdowns were first beginning. Live events like this one were either canceled or postponed. Thankfully, the Sochi event was postponed to this October. It will now take place from the 2nd to the 11th.
PokerStars has now listed satellites for the EPT stop, ready to welcome players from around the world to Casino Sochi. When you look at the online poker lobby, nine satellites are currently listed. Buy-ins range from $2.20 to $22. None of these are direct qualifiers but are rather live satellites that provide buy-ins to the next level up.
Some provide a seat to the $215 satellite which provides an EPT Sochi prize package. The satellites are a great way for players to gain entry into the event, without having to post the larger buy-ins.
During the upcoming EPT Sochi, a total of 25 events will take place. However, many of these events are connected to satellites for the Main Event. The Main Event will take place on October 6 and include a buy-in of $2,467 and have a guaranteed prize pool of $1,723,863.
The Main Event will have three starting flights, and each will offer a single re-entry. The Main Event will take place over five days until a champion has been crowned.
Now, while PokerStars is offering up satellites for Sochi, the Casino Sochi is not yet reopened. It closed on March 26 and remains closed. Covid-19 is still an issue in Russia with over 733,000 positive cases. The country is actually has the fourth highest total of cases in the world.
There is also doubt that these numbers are legit due to the leadership in the country. So for now, players will have to wait and see if the event will take place in live format. PokerStars seems to be confident. And even if the event is not able to take place, there is no doubt that the online poker operator will find a way to provide some type of gaming, be it via an online series or event.
In speaking with local media outlets, PokerStars stated that they are working closely with the casino and following local regulations. They will continue to keep players updated if changes were to occur. At this time, the event is scheduled to continue as planned. It may not be until August or even September before any more details will be provided as more details will be known about the impact of the virus in the region as well as travel options for players located outside the country.