Playground and PartyPoker Tout Grand Prix Online Events

The most famous card room in Canada has been doing everything possible to stay connected with its customers during the coronavirus pandemic. Playground Poker has no shortage of options for its poker players online via its partnership with PartyPoker.

Live to Online in Days

When the Montreal card room closed on mid-March, players around Quebec – and throughout Canada – were left without live poker. Most players at Playground Poker were recreational or weekend visitors to the tables, but some were professional players as well. So, when the Canadian government and health officials ordered most businesses to close, Playground had to lock the doors.

Playground Poker, also a small business that hopes to sustain itself and reopen when the worst of the COVID-19 danger passes, wanted to offer something for players, find a revenue stream of some kind, and show its customers that Playground cared. Its relationship with PartyPoker allowed that to happen almost immediately.

The first step was to open up some cash game tables online for Playground players only. PartyPoker opened the “Playground Network” on its site, which requires players to be approved to participate and play under their real names. That was open by March 20, just days after the card room had to close its doors.

By April 2, Playground arranged for daily tournaments for their players on PartyPoker. In addition, it made changes to rakeback and encouraged cash game players to meet at certain times each night to ensure a good virtual crowd.

Weeks later, there’s more. Playground Poker announced two more developments this week.

For the Dealers

Sometimes, the dealers at establishments like Playground are forgotten in the mix of people who lost their jobs and livelihoods. And unlike players who have online poker options, dealers are left without income.

When PartyPoker decided to host a Grand Prix 4 Dealers on its site, the goal was to benefit dealers who had counted on dealing PartyPoker LIVE events in Europe. Without that income, many of those dealers were struggling. That prompted the site to organize the first Grand Prix 4 Dealers.

The tournament will run from April 26 to May 3 and offer 24 starting flights. Each $55 buy-in puts that $5 registration fee portion into the crowdfunding account set up to raise money to support freelance poker dealers. All of those scheduled to work PartyPoker LIVE events around the world will benefit from the fundraising effort.

The goal is to reach £100,000, at which point Rob Yong of PartyPoker will personally match that amount.

The amount shown on the JustGiving page is £8,985 from 22 donations as of Saturday morning, April 25. However, separately, Triton Poker already donated £50,000. Other major PartyPoker LIVE partners are likely donating behind the scenes as well.

Grand Prix 4 Dealers Details

The details of the tournament are simple.

The $55 buy-in Grand Prix 4 Dealers tournament begins on Sunday, April 26. There will be 24 starting flights from April 26 through May 3, three flights per day. Players then strive to play 15 levels, and those who accomplish that with chips progress to the final day of play, which begins later in the day on May 3.

Players can compete in as many starting flights as they choose but can only take their largest stack through to the final.

PartyPoker applied a $250K guarantee to the tournament.

There are also numerous satellites on PartyPoker, starting as low as $1.10. There will also be phase tournaments that cost only $5.50 and start one hour prior to each starting flight.

For the Players

The Grand Prix is a recurring live tournament in the UK. This year it was planned for March 8-15, in fact to celebrate its 10th anniversary. However, the coronavirus kept it from happening as scheduled.

So, as with so many other live tournaments and series these days, Grand Prix organizers worked with PartyPoker to put it online…and expand it. This online version will allow play in five regions of the world at one time. Each Grand Prix will play separately from the others as follows:

  • Grand Prix Online Canada = CA$55 buy-in, CA$100K guarantee
  • Grand Prix Online UK = £55 buy-in, £150K guarantee
  • Grand Prix Online Brazil = $55 buy-in, $50K guarantee
  • Grand Prix Online Germany = €55 buy-in, €50K guarantee
  • Grand Prix Online Russia = ₽5,500 buy-in, ₽10M guarantee

All of the events will also play out at the exact same time, simultaneously. There will be 19 starting flights from May 3-10 – two or three per day – and players can play as many as they choose, with their largest finishing stack taken to the final phase. Each flight allowed one reentry.

The final phase will play out later on May 10. PartyPoker posted the full schedule.

Bringing It All Together

Ultimately, winners of all six events – the five Grand Prix events and the Grand Prix 4 Dealers – will win a seat into a special free six-handed SNG. The “SNG of Champions” will offer these prizes:

  • WPT500 seats (3 seats worth $530 each)
  • WPTDeepStacks seat (one seat worth $1,600)
  • WPT Main Event seat (one seat worth $3,200)
  • WPT Passport package (one $5,500 package of WPT buy-ins)

All of the tickets are valid for the upcoming World Poker Tour’s first foray into the online poker world with PartyPoker: the WPT Online Series. It will run May 3-19 (originally scheduled for May 10-26 but moved up one week) on PartyPoker. And it will feature each of the above events – WPT500, WPTDS, and WPT Main Event – and many more.



Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


Tensions Escalate in the High Stakes Duel

Tensions Escalate in the High Stakes Duel

Derrick Oliver
May 13th, 2021

May Microgaming Releases Span from Serengeti to Sea

May Microgaming Releases Span from Serengeti to Sea

Jennifer Newell
May 12th, 2021

Loto-Québec Proceeds with $12M Salon de Jeux Move

Loto-Québec Proceeds with $12M Salon de Jeux Move

Jennifer Newell
May 7th, 2021