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Five of the Live Poker Events Canceled Because of COVID-19
The continued spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus is resulting in the cancellation of several key live poker events.
A handful of European operators have postponed, potentially canceling completely, their live festivals. Triton Poker canceled its planned Super High Roller Series in Jeju, South Korea back in January. That decision looks like the correct one because South Korea is struggling to contain COVID-19.
The past few days have been bleak for the poker industry with several major events canceled. COVID-19 is blamed for all the postponements and cancellations. Its seemingly unstoppable spread around the world has even cast doubt on the 2020 World Series of Poker.
PokerStars Cites COVID-19 For European Cancellations
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, made an announcement about postponements earlier this week. It said all upcoming poker events in Europe are postponed until at least April 10, 2020.
“We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and working with the casinos operating the events e sponsor to ensure we are being kept up to speed with all the latest developments. As such, it is with a heavy heart that the decision has been made, in conjunction with each casino partner, to postpone all European events up until April 10, 2020.”
European Poker Tour Sochi survived the cull. It begins on March 20 although attendance figures will suffer. Russia claims only 20 residents have suffered coronavirus, but the country has a habit of being lax with the truth.
COVID-19 Causes Cancellation of WPT Barcelona
Spain has seen a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases, making it no surprise poker tours postponing events there. Almost 500 new cases came to light in the past 24-hours in addition to 13 new deaths.
The World Poker Tour already canceled WPT Vietnam and postponed WPT Taiwan. It isn’t heading to Barcelona on March 27th either. WPT issued a statement saying discussions about COVID-19 led to the postponement of WPT Barcelona.
No Luck For the 2020 Irish Open As It Succumbs to COVID-19
The Irish Open is the second-longest-running poker festival in the world behind the WSOP. It’s been ever-present since the 1970s, but it is missing from the 2020 schedule.
Ireland only has 34 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, yet organizers pulled the plus on the Irish Open last night.
Those involved with the running of the Irish Open pulled out all the stops to ensure the festival ran. This included working alongside the World Health Organisation and the Irish Health Service Executive.
Unfortunately, the Irish Open is a victim of its own success. It attracts poker players from around the world. Having them gathered in a room for more than a week where any infected people could easily spread the virus is not a risk the Irish Open is willing to take.
“The safety and well-being of our players and staff is our utmost priority. It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the event.”
Spanish Government Pulls Plug on Winamax Grand Final
Winamax was all set to run its Grand Final festival in Madrid from March 19th. Indeed, the French operator had purchased hand sanitizer for the poker tables and put several preventative measures in place to ensure the poker tournament festival ran. The Spanish government, however, had other ideas and forced the tour to postpone its finale.
Spanish authorities banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in attempts to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Several thousand poker players turn out for most Winamax live poker tournaments, which falls foul of the new guidelines.
First American Live Event Cancelled
Live tournaments in the United States looked to have survived the threat of COVID-19 until today. Maryland Live! Poker announced the cancelation of the upcoming WPT DeepStacks event on the social media site Twitter.
The casino later said it wasn’t fully canceling the festival, instead of postponing it. “We are looking at future dates,” said the casino.
What Next For Live Poker?
Representatives of the WSOP confirmed they are monitoring the spread of COVID-19 but its 2020 WSOP schedule is still intact.
More European tournaments fall daily and now the first U.S. event has bit the dust. It seems inevitable the cancelation of the WSOP is on the horizon. They can’t postpone it because the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the home of the WSOP, is fully booked throughout the year. WSOP books its spot a year or more in advance.
Bad times look set for the live poker circuit, at least for the next few months.