Poker Tournament Changes Abound for Virus Concerns

Poker Tournament Changes Abound for Virus Concerns

The poker world is on the cusp of a shutdown.

Coronavirus concerns have grown significantly in the past week for several reasons, not the least of which its classification by the World Health Organization as a pandemic.

In Europe, Italy went from precautionary measures to a complete shutdown of all 60 million people within its borders. European countries are quickly seeing more virus confirmations and banning large gatherings, shutting down schools and workplaces, and cancelling religious services. Flights are cancelled. Hospitals are overwhelmed.

The United States hardly has the numbers coming out of Italy or China, but people increasingly believe that is only because there has been so little testing relative to the population.

In the past week, employers like Amazon instructed employees to work from home. Schools in Washington State and New York began closing. Performers cancelled concerts. Professional sports teams were ordered to play in virtually empty venues. And when a player in the NBA tested positive for the virus yesterday, the NBA cancelled the rest of its season.

Casinos, racetracks, bingo halls, and the like will be next. It is inevitable. Not only are they the large gatherings of people that more states are wanting to ban temporarily, they are practically a welcoming committee for any virus. The amount of money, cards, and chips exchanged, surfaces touched by many different people, and close proximity of people to each other make those venues into petri dishes for germs.

Add to that the flight restrictions around the world, most notably the latest ban on travel to the US from Europe for 30 days. While this doesn’t apply to foreign nationals or US residents, it will prohibit a sizeable number of poker players from entering the US.

The list of poker tournament changes and cancellations is multiplying faster than expected. Let’s try to get a handle on it.

Earlier This Week…

Two days ago, we published this information about the latest cancellations and restrictions.

–WPT Barcelona postponed

–Triton Poker Jeju cancelled

–PokerStars Road to PSPC events in France, Germany, and Spain postponed

–Golden Poker Tour Marrakech cancelled

–APT Vietnam rescheduled

–Winamax Grand Final in Madrid postponed

–Unibet DeepStack Open in Aix de Provence postponed

–Irish Poker Open postponed

–PartyPoker MILLIONS Cyprus rescheduled

–Siege of Malta cancelled

–Bounty Poker Tour in Estonia cancelled

–Barriere Poker Tour Ribeauville cancelled

There were other changes as well. The WSOP Circuit event at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic removed its tournament guarantees and banned players from Italy and anyone who had been to Italy recently.

Consider Most Tournament Guarantees Moot

Poker tours and tournament organizers are quickly releasing statements about their guarantees. Largely, they are simply removing tournament guarantees altogether. With no way to know how the travel restrictions and player concerns are going to hurt attendance, they have simply removed all guarantees.

Expect this trend to continue for nearly every tournament that is not cancelled.

Latest Cancellations and Postponements

It is not clear that all of these are related solely to the coronavirus outbreak, but they are important to note nevertheless.

In Florida, the Daytona Beach Racing & Card Club cancelled its $50K GTD tournament set for March 13-22, though all other tournaments and promotions will continue.

888poker announced the cancellation of its 888poker LIVE Bucharest Festival 2020. It had been scheduled for March 16-23 in Romania. This is directly tied to coronavirus concerns.

WPTDeepStacks had a $1,650 WPTDS Main Event scheduled for March 20-23 at Maryland Live, but it has been postponed. Poker room management gave no reason for the change.

Same tour, different date. WPTDeepStacks’ latest announcement pertained to its European Championship scheduled for April 10-13. There was a €1,500 buy-in Main Event on tap, but Casino Barriere Deauville cancelled it with the hopes of rescheduling.

The Colorado Poker Championship Spring Series 2020 is cancelled. The entire series was scheduled to begin today and run through April 1. Player demand that the tournament continue prompted Golden Gates Poker Room to run it as scheduled, but after the NBA announcement and further consideration, the casino announced its cancellation “in the interest of caution and safety.”

Back in PokerStars land, next month’s scheduled Lex Live 3 series is now postponed. The series of poker events at Aspers Casino in London was set for April 16-23, and Lex Veldhuis made the decision to postpone it for the safety of the poker community. “I hope people can understand the decision and appreciate it is a very tough one to make.”

Veldhuis continued, “I’m going to try to find new dates and see what the plan is. Every step of the way, every time there’s a decision made and a date that we know of, we’re going to involve everyone in the process.”

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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