A recent article from All Street Gaming Media reports that the World Poker Tour (WPT) seeks to bring tournament poker back to Macau after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a leading poker tour, the WPT hosting events in the former Portuguese colony signals a broader recovery for live gaming in Asia as pandemic restrictions ease.
The WPT hosted dozens of poker tournaments in Macau from 2013 until early 2020 when the coronavirus outbreak forced casino shutdowns across the region. With Macau reopening to visitors, the WPT plans new festival events at two significant properties - Wynn Macau and The Londoner Macao - in late March and early April 2024.
These forthcoming tournaments come as welcomed news for professional poker players and fans alike. Macau has long held a strong poker community, driven by visiting players from mainland China and Hong Kong. However, two years without major live events has impacted both gaming tourism and poker's popularity in the region.
The WPT bringing its branded festival back to Macau signals a broader resurgence happening in live gaming. While pandemic closures dealt a heavy blow to brick-and-mortar casinos globally, major markets like Las Vegas and Macau now see visitation and gaming revenue recovering toward pre-COVID levels. This WPT announcement coincides with analysts' predictions that Macau's gaming revenue could hit 90% of 2019 totals this year.
For poker specifically, the WPT returning gives pros and amateurs alike motivation to travel for tournament play. Qualifying into WPT Main Events comes with prestige and big prize pools, which should attract decent turnouts for the upcoming Macau fests. The recreational and vocational landscape for poker seems poised for a strong 2024 if high-profile tournament circuits like the WPT commit to running Asian events as planned.