Coronavirus Affects More Poker Tournament Series
It was only a matter of time before the coronavirus made its way into poker.
What started as a unique virus outbreak in China quickly made its way to other countries around the world. There is no vaccine yet for COVID-19. It spreads quickly and can be dangerous to some, even deadly to those with respiratory issues and immune deficiencies.
It began affecting the poker world more than a month ago. The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series was the first to postpone an event, the one it had scheduled for February in South Korea. Macau officials actually forced the closure of its 41 casinos for about two weeks to prevent the disease spread, despite the likely severe economic impact.
Soon after, the World Poker Tour made a few decisions regarding events it planned for the Asia-Pacific region. They decided to postpone WPT DeepStacks Taiwan and cancel WPT Vietnam.
More changes are now afoot.
Going to sit around a small poker table for the next seven or eight hours with a bunch of degenerate gamblers all touching the same cards and poker chips. My question: is this what the CDC means when they say to take precautions against coronavirus?
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) March 4, 2020
WPT and PartyPoker LIVE Cancel Barcelona Festival
The most recent cancellation was just announced today, this one affecting a large festival scheduled for March 27 to April 5. The WPT Barcelona, hosted in conjunction with PartyPoker LIVE at Casino Barcelona in Spain is now “postponed.”
The casino published the notice that extensive discussions with all parties prompted the reluctant decision to postpone the festival. “All three parties are currently exploring the possibility of holding the event later in the year.”
And players who won their seats online via PartyPoker can contact the company’s customer service department to discuss their options.
WPT Barcelona, scheduled from March 27 – April 5 is now postponed, no future date announced at this time https://t.co/Q0DiyLgFUR
— Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) March 10, 2020
Triton Finally Cancels Jeju Event
They did everything they could to continue postponing the event scheduled to take place in Jeju, South Korea. As mentioned, they initially postponed it, and they put another hold on it in February.
The continuing spread of the virus, particularly in South Korea, prompted Triton Poker organizers to officially cancel the tournament. The March announcement was “with great sadness” but acknowledging that the danger was too great.
“As accurate as of March 2, Korea’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 5,328 with 33 deaths – the second highest case rate and fourth-highest death rate, hence the cancellation.”
Triton Poker plans to move forward with its next event in Montenegro May 8-22 at the Maestral Hotel & Casino.
"It’s with great sadness that Triton Poker announces the cancellation of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series, Jeju."
— Triton Poker (@tritonpoker) March 4, 2020
Golden Poker Cancels Marrakech
The Golden Poker Tour is one primarily focused on Spain and nearby locations. There are tournaments set for nearly every month of the year in places like Mallorca and Madrid and Barcelona.
Its March tour stop was to be an entire festival of tournaments at the main casino in Marrakech this month. However, the Golden Poker Million set for March 13-22 was cancelled per the instructions of the Moroccan Interior Minister.
Bad news. The Golden Poker Million festival, scheduled from March 13-22 in Casino de Marrakech in the Es Saadi Resort, will be cancelled. Official statement below.@poker_golden @PokerMarrakech1 pic.twitter.com/8xvagEgp7G
— Yori Epskamp (@YoriEpskamp) March 7, 2020
PokerStars Cancels Some “Road to PSPC” Events
With tournaments all over Europe, it only made sense for PokerStars to examine its live events schedules.
This weekend, the company issued a statement to postpone three upcoming tournaments on the Road to PSPC series that were poised to offer seats to the PSPC Barcelona this August. The upcoming stops in Hamburg, La Grand Motte, and Madrid Gran Via are all postponed. It is unclear if they will be rescheduled or removed from the schedule.
Players who had qualified online to play in those events seem to have been contacted by PokerStars to transfer seats to another tournament or resolve any issues.
While PokerStars took action on its European events scheduled through April 10, others around the world will go on, including in the Philippines and Russia. The Okada Manila Millions, BSOP Sao Paulo, and EPT Sochi will happen without interruption.
“We are reviewing every event on a case-by-case basis,” said Severin Rasset. “and keeping up to speed on the latest developments alongside our casino partners.”
Rasset also noted that if any players won a seat to a live event in which they are no longer comfortable participating due to coronavirus concerns, they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, we have taken the decision to postpone all European events up until April 10, 2020.
Full update: https://t.co/RsM2RP3G8S
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) March 8, 2020
APT Reschedules Da Nang Stop
The Asian Poker Tour did everything possible to keep from postponing or cancelling any events on its calendar, but the April series scheduled for Da Nang in Vietnam was on the list of potentially dangerous events. Ultimately, it was an advisory by the Vietnamese government that prompted a decision.
Just this week, the APT took to Twitter to announce the postponement of APT Vietnam from April 7-18 to August 19-30. It will still take place at the Risemount Premier Resort in Da Nang City and offer a solid schedule of 23 tournaments.
Please be informed that due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation & the latest advisories issued by Vietnamese Government & health authorities, APT VN Da Nang 2020 scheduled for 7-18 April will now be postponed & rescheduled for 19-30 Aug. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. pic.twitter.com/1SkomACcy5
— Asian Poker Tour (@AsianPokerTour) March 9, 2020
Winamax Announces Cancellations in Spain
The Spanish government decided that it will put a ban on public gatherings of more than 1,000 people. This will result in quite a few tournament postponements and cancellations, but the first today was from Winamax.
The Winamax Poker Tour is cancelling its Grant Final at Casino Gran Madrid Torrelodones on March 19-29. There seems to be no rescheduling offered but this may change.
— Winamax Europe (@WinamaxEurope) March 10, 2020
Unibet Cancels DSO in France
Of several tours hosted by Unibet, its DeepStack Open is popular with a range of players. The reasonable buy-ins with solid chip stacks allow a lot of play without a lot of risk. The Unibet DeepStack Open (DSO) just kicked off its Season XI with quite a few stops on the schedule.
Divonne was the first location for the season, but next up was the DSO Aix De Provence set for March 18-22. That has now been postponed. Per the request of French authorities, that stop on the tour is postponed. (Th company’s Twitter account reports it was cancelled.)
Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID19 virus, the @DeepStackOpen Aix De Provence (18-22 March) has been cancelled.
All ticket holders are welcome to their choice of future tour stop.https://t.co/jNCsZ6eZYA
— Unibet Poker (@UnibetPoker) March 10, 2020
Players who qualified online at Unibet can use their tickets for any other USDO stop on the tour, which is currently set to head to Pornic in May, San Remo in May, and then on to Paris and La Grande Motte.
Irish Poker Open Postpones Festival
Just today, the Irish Poker Open announced that it is postponing its upcoming events after “working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that all guidelines issued by the World Health Organization and the Irish Health Service Executive” could be implemented.
However, it seems that the events schedule to take place at the Citywest Hotel from April 6-13 are now postponed indefinitely. Organizers hope to secure a rescheduling later in 2020.
BREAKING NEWS: The Irish Poker Open has been postponed. pic.twitter.com/5rdf77Y2HD
— 🃏 David Lappin 🃏 (@dklappin) March 10, 2020
PartyPoker LIVE Makes Adjustments
It seems that PartyPoker is rolling with the punches regarding its live tournaments in the next few months. Just last week, Rob Yong posted this message, expressing understanding of players who don’t want to travel or be in casinos for a variety of reasons.
RE: Coronavirus & @partypokerlive events; update here KTF Rob 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/hIoag8QneI
— Rob Yong (@rob_yong_) March 4, 2020
PartyPoker then posted a notice this week about the WPT Barcelona festival with which it is associated and announced another postponement. It will be the MILLIONS event in Cyprus set for May 3-11 in coordination with Merit Poker. That event is postponed until August 26 to September 7.
King’s Resort’s Continues Changing Policy
The popular casino located in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, has made some interesting decisions of late. Instead of cancelling the WSOP Circuit event that began March 5 and runs through March 23, King’s Casino management noted that it did not want to disappoint players. Therefore, they removed guarantees on all of the tournament prize pools and implemented other measures.
Initial measures announced included adding hand sanitizers in the bathrooms and disposable gloves in the casino area. Cleaning personnel was instructed to regularly disinfect public spaces, including the poker tables.
“Moreover, we temporarily banned access to King’s for Italian residents and recent Italy-visitors.”
📢 BREAKING NEWS 📢
Safety measures and changes in tournaments in March.
Find out more here:https://t.co/0PepjjFULH
— King's Resort (@PokerroomKings) March 9, 2020
While it is clear that Italy has a rather serious spread-rate of the virus and recently put its entire country on a lockdown, the King’s Casino decision was not well-received by Italians.
Several hours later, the casino management issued another news alert. New measures to be implemented included checking the temperature of each person entering the King’s property and putting extra space between playing tables. Each poker table was only to have a maximum of eight players to create space between people, and each tournament will be played in an area of the casino that was thoroughly disinfected before it starts.
It is unclear if the WSOP Circuit series will play to its scheduled conclusion, however, due to an order from the Czech Prime Minister that prohibits events hosting more than 100 people.
Will there be further changes due to the report of the Czech Republic banning events hosting more than 100 people?https://t.co/xg04AREnP4
— Donnie Peters 🍕 (@Donnie_Peters) March 10, 2020
Other Cancellations and Notes
The rapid and unpredictable spread of the coronavirus has prompted other closures and changes to other poker events as well.
Casino Malta announced that the Siege of Malta poker festival scheduled for mid-April is now cancelled.
PokerNews also reported that the Bounty Poker Tour Tallinn in Estonia set for March 17-19 has been postponed. And the Barriere Poker Tour Ribeauville stop for March 19-22 is cancelled.
There are no reports of any cancellations in the United States thus far. But stay tuned.