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Coronavirus - Poker World Disrupted - DAILY UPDATES

CoronaVirus

There’s been plenty of news floating around the world over the past few months. Donald Trump’s impeachment. Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down as active members of The Royal Family. Celebrities winning awards for their acting and singing skills. Australia’s bushfires.

Yet, probably the biggest topic that has been discussed and reported on in the news lately has been the threat of coronavirus. The virus, which broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has spread to several other countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. While coronavirus has affected many people already and claimed the lives of others, it has also caused disruption to various poker events and venues.

Coronavirus Affects Poker

April 1, 2020

Casino Closures Extended

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As expected, the order shutting down Nevada casinos has been extended from its original April 16 expiration through to the end of April. On April 1, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak commented, “Today’s ‘Stay at Home’ directive strengthens the imperative that Nevadans must not leave their homes for nonessential activities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Leaders in other states have made similar announcements.

With their normal operations disrupted and no end yet in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, major gaming firms continue to be running pretty much in maintenance mode with skeleton crews performing basic functions on-property while most employees are staying at home.

Several of these organizations have elected to make charitable donations in order to help fight what President Trump has referred to as “the invisible enemy.” Wynn Resorts has donated $2.5 million worth of masks, gloves, food, and other supplies to nonprofits and medical facilities in Las Vegas and Boston. MGM Resorts has meanwhile contributed $400,000 to food banks across the country and donated thousands of pieces of medical equipment.

The spectacle of major corporations donating substantial sums, even as their stock prices tank and they burn rapidly through their cash reserves, may seem unusual. It’s very likely that these contributions represent an investment in the future. Brick-and-mortar casinos will be unable to book any revenue until current circumstances change, and so they’re incentivized to do everything in their power to defeat coronavirus.

March 30, 2020

Casino Industry in for Rough Ride

Man Pushing Ball

On Sunday, March 29, President Trump extended the government’s social distancing guidelines through the end of April. This means that land-based casinos will likely be forced to remain closed at least until May. Any state-mandated closure orders, such as the 30-day casino shutdown declared by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on March 17, will probably be extended at least through April 30.

The impact on gaming companies has been severe. Just look at the stock graphs of three leading U.S. firms in this industry since the beginning of 2020:

MGM Stock Chart
CZR Stock Chart
ERI Stock Chart

Needless to say, corporate accounting departments are feeling the crunch. Many are taking drastic steps to reduce expenses as they attempt to weather the storm.

For instance, Penn National, owner of 41 gaming locations around the country, announced in a March 27 press release that it’s selling the Tropicana in Las Vegas and furloughing 26,000 of its employees. Meanwhile, MGM has borrowed $1.5 billion from an existing line of credit in order to get through these tough times.

Even when B&M casinos eventually reopen to the public, it’s possible that they won’t be able to return to the old days before COVID-19 hit the scene. Most economists foresee a lengthy recession, even after the current crisis ends, and so consumers will have less discretionary income to spend on such entertainments as gaming, concerts, dining, and hotel stays.

Online wagering products, on the other hand, have already seen a considerable boost as customers look to the internet to get their fix of betting pastimes. The current emergency might even lead to a push to reevaluate the online poker legal situation in the United States.

March 27, 2020

Last USA Casino Holdouts Finally Throw in Towel

Red Circle and X

In our previous update, we related the news that many commercial casinos in Deadwood, S.D. refused to shut their doors, in defiance of the wishes of their mayor and the dictates of common sense. However, that situation was remedied shortly thereafter.

The same day that the mayor issued his request for these gaming centers to close down, the Deadwood Gaming Association published a statement in which it said that it would be “working with Deadwood’s gaming operators to temporarily shut down Deadwood gaming operations at high noon on Wednesday March 25th, 2020 until further notice.”

With that decision, the final commercial casinos in the United States that were still doing business have now stopped taking bets. In addition, more than 97% of tribal casino locations throughout the country have closed with the majority of those staying open consisting of convenience stores that also have a few slot machines installed.

WSOP Still Optimistic

Though pretty much every live poker tournament series of note has had to modify its schedule for the coming months, the World Series of Poker has still made no official changes to its plans. Seth Palansky, the WSOP’s VP of corporate communications, has indicated that any decisions regarding coronavirus postponements or cancellations would likely not be made until May.

Sports Betting Impacted the Most

Sports Equipment

If you like to wager on casino games or at the poker tables, then you’re only marginally impacted by the closure of gambling facilities over coronavirus concerns. After all, you have a ready remedy available by taking your game online.

However, those who like to bet on sports cannot effectively do so because most major athletic competitions around the world have been canceled. Yet, there are still some betting opportunities available, like virtual sports, eSports, and horse races. You can bet on all of them at leading bookmaker Bovada.lv, which also has casino and poker games too.

Many industry observers believe that the current crisis is a chance for online poker to make a rebound. Often regarded by execs as a kind of ill-favored third cousin to lucrative casino slots and table gaming, poker ought to appeal to sports bettors who are drawn by the fact that it’s skill-based, just like the games they’re used to wagering on. Time will tell if internet poker rooms will have the technical savvy and marketing finesse to successfully attract and retain those sports bettors who suddenly have a lot of free time and cash to burn.

March 23, 2020

Australia + United Kingdom Close Casinos

Aussie Flag Map
UK Flag Map

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued an order on Friday, March 20 that all casinos, betting shops, and bingo halls must close down by the evening of the same day. They are to stay shuttered indefinitely with the government reviewing the situation every four weeks hereafter.

Meanwhile, Australian PM Scott Morrison directed that all casinos, along with pubs, hotels, and entertainment venues, shut their doors effective Monday, March 23. They will remain closed for at least six months.

Despite the disruptions caused first by the Internet Gambling Amendment Bill and now the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a number of reputable, upstanding online poker sites that cater to the Aussie market. With live poker rooms now not an option, playing over the internet may represent the next best thing. Click here to go to our extensive guide to Australian online poker.

A Few U.S. Casinos Remain Open

Caution Sign

Since our last update, quite a few more of the remaining U.S. gambling facilities have shut their doors with the majority of those still open consisting of the odd casino, here and there, housed on tribal lands across the country. Curiously, the one exception to this rule appears to be Deadwood, S.D., where there were still nine commercial casinos in operation as of Monday, March 23.

The mayor of Deadwood, David R. Ruth, Jr., asked owners in a statement on Monday to “close down your casinos temporarily until the COVID-19 threat has passed.” However, he did acknowledge that “at this time, you have the authority to make your own decisions with respect to your operations” while reminding them that municipalities in South Dakota do have the right to order businesses to close during the pandemic. Whether casino management will heed Ruth’s request remains to be seen.

First Famous Player Tests Positive

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It was only a matter of time before a poker player of public renown was found to have contracted the coronavirus, and the day has now sadly arrived. David “Doc” Sands tested positive for the virus on Saturday, March 21:

Coronavirus Tweet From Doc Sands

“Doc” Sands first achieved success in the world of online tournaments where he booked more than $3 million in wins with most of this total coming from his PokerStars “SexSeen” and Full Tilt “Doc Sands” accounts. He then rose to fame on the live tourney circuit, placing second in the $100,000 buyin 2013 PCA Super High Roller event for a $1.26 million payday among other solid finishes in high-buyin events. In total, his live poker tournament winnings exceed $8.4 million.

It was only after displaying symptoms for several days that Sands was tested for COVID-19. Fortunately, his appears to be a mild case of coronavirus, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

March 20, 2020

Live Poker Basically Dead

Downward Sloping Graph

Coronavirus continues to have a devastating impact on live gaming, including poker. According to statistics released by the American Gaming Association on Thursday, March 19, 95% of U.S. commercial casinos are currently closed.

Of course, with almost all venues for real money games being closed, there’s little chance of them being able to host poker events. Virtually every offline poker festival and series for the next few months has been either canceled or postponed.

The big exception is the World Series of Poker, which is still scheduled to run from May 26 to July 15 as originally planned. It may be the case that this series is just far enough off in the future that organizers still harbor hopes of the coronavirus pandemic being over by that time.

Macau has already experienced what much of the world is going through, and the worst is believed to be past in this gambling-friendly enclave of China. Yet, even though Macau’s casinos have re-opened (albeit under strict regulatory conditions), they are by no means attracting crowds to their gaming floors. Forecasts predict gross gaming revenue for 2020 in Macau to be just $16 billion: a 56% reduction from 2019’s figures.

Online Poker Gaining Strength

Online poker appears to be a bright spot in this overall dismal climate. Statistics from player traffic tracking resource GameIntel show that the three largest USA internet poker networks have had a total average of 2,625 simultaneous cash game players over the past seven days, up 18% from a similar period one year ago.

This phenomenon is not restricted to the United States either. In a statement dated March 19, global gambling giant (and owner of the iPoker Network) Playtech said, “Playtech's Poker and Bingo businesses have seen increases in activity in recent days following the restrictions on physical movement put in place by various governments.”

March 18, 2020

Nevada Casinos Close

Nevada Outline MapWe’ve seen quite a few brick-and-mortar gambling facilities shut down in the past week or so, and this trend seems to be accelerating. The big focus right now is Nevada and, more particularly, Las Vegas. Although quite a few LV casinos had already opted to close their doors, the few that decided to remain open will now have to cease doing business too.

On Tuesday, March 17, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak decreed that all casinos, restaurants, and gyms will have to close down by noon on Wednesday. The shuttering of restaurants refers only to dine-in facilities; takeout and delivery are still permitted. The businesses affected will remain closed for at least 30 days.

This move follows the first reported COVID-19 death in the state on Monday. The victim was a resident of Clark County in his 60s. Authorities said that the man had “underlying health conditions.”

Atlantic City Casinos Also Close

Any hopes by would-be casino-goers to partake of “The Las Vegas of the East” have been dashed too. Even before Nevada’s leaders took action, the New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy (of Murphy v. NCAA fame), ordered the closure of all Atlantic City casinos at 8 p.m. Monday, March 16. They will have to remain closed until “it is deemed safe for their reopening.”

Governor Murphy actually made his announcement in conjunction with the governors of nearby New York and Connecticut. The decision he proclaimed is fully supported by these two states, and so NY and CT casinos have all stopped their gaming activities as well.

Other Areas Follow Suit

Many other states have taken the step of closing their casinos. Among them are:

    • Pennsylvania
    • Kansas
    • Missouri
    • Iowa
    • Mississippi
    • Louisiana
    • Colorado

Moreover, the Canadian province of British Columbia decided to close all its casinos on Monday, March 16, following a similar decision by Ontario the previous day.

Even in jurisdictions that have not legally demanded that casinos shut their doors, like California and Florida, many gambling establishments have decided to do so of their own volition. This is making it much tougher for gaming enthusiasts to participate in their favorite pastimes, but many of them are heading online to stave off coronavirus boredom.

March 16, 2020

Wave of Gambling Closures

With no end immediately in sight for the current coronavirus outburst, gaming companies and government authorities throughout North America have announced quite a few closures of casinos.

Las Vegas
The Wynn Resort is temporarily shutting its doors beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 6 p.m. After two weeks, this decision will be reevaluated. Also, MGM Resorts has opted to suspend business at all of its Las Vegas properties, until further notice, as of the same date. The venues affected are:

      • Bellagio
      • CityCenter
      • Excalibur
      • Luxor
      • Mandalay Bay
      • MGM Grand
      • The Mirage
      • New York-New York
      • Park MGM
      • T-Mobile Arena

Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, on Saturday, March 14, voted to temporarily close all casinos within the state for at least two weeks. The decision took effect the following day. The three MA casinos are:

      • MGM Springfield
      • Encore Boston Harbor
      • Plainridge Park

Maryland
Following an emergency order by Governor Larry Hogan, all MD casinos, racetracks, and betting facilities will have to close at midnight Monday, March 16. They will not be able to reopen until the state of emergency has ended or a directive to the contrary is issued. The properties affected are:

      • Fair Hill Races
      • Hollywood Casino Perryville
      • Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
      • Laurel Park
      • Live! Casino & Hotel
      • MGM National Harbor
      • Ocean Downs
      • Ocean Downs Casino
      • Pimlico Race Course
      • Rocky Gap Casino Resort
      • Rosecroft Raceway
      • Timonium Race Course
      • Multiple simulcast betting locations

Indiana
Starting the morning of Monday, March 16, all Indiana “gaming and racing operations” will be required to close down at the behest of the Indiana Gaming Commission. This measure will be active for at least 14 days. There are 14 locations that this order applies to.

Ohio
According to a news release from Friday, March 13, all Ohio casinos and racinos had to shut their doors no later than midnight the same day. There are 11 facilities included in this edict, but 7 of them are racinos with just races and gaming terminals, no table games. There are four casinos with table games and/or poker that must comply:

      • JACK Cleveland Casino
      • JACK Cincinnati Casino
      • Hollywood Casino Columbus
      • Hollywood Casino Toledo

Michigan
The three Detroit commercial casinos will be closed down for a period of no less than two weeks, starting Monday, March 16. These casinos are:

      • Motor City Casino
      • MGM Grand
      • Greektown Casino

At around the same time as these closures were announced by the casinos themselves, Governor Gretchen Whitmer indicated that the Michigan Gaming Control Board was working on a plan to close the casinos down.

Michigan hosts 23 tribal casinos in addition to the three in Detroit, but they're not under the authority of the Gaming Control Board and are thus not covered by its plans. Nevertheless, several of them did indicate that they would be closing Monday of their own volition:

      • Caesars Windsor
      • Gun Lake Casino
      • King's Club Casino

Rhode Island
State leaders opted on Friday, March 13 to close the state's two casinos for one week:

      • Twin River
      • Tiverton

Ontario
Ontario Lottery and Gaming has taken the decision to suspend activity at all casinos in the province. This act was announced on Sunday, March 15 and was ordered to be completed within “approximately 24 hours.” No date for reopening has yet been determined. Around two dozen properties will have to close their doors.


In addition to the gambling locales listed above, several other organizations have announced their own closures across the continent, in such places as California and British Columbia. We expect to hear of more instances shortly. We'll keep you posted and this page updated with the latest news.

March 13, 2020

US Gaming Industry Begins to Be Impacted

USA Flag Map

The U.S. gaming industry, hitherto relatively unimpaired by coronavirus concerns, is now attempting to gear up for this public health threat. Several prominent organizations are taking steps to safeguard their employees and patrons.

Caesars and MGM have both released statements detailing their efforts in this area, which include increasing the frequency of cleanings and employee training. In addition, MGM is closing all of its Las Vegas buffets beginning Sunday, March 15.

Other companies are taking action too, like the Wynn, which has closed its buffet and has stopped running many entertainment activities, including nightclubs and theaters. Wynn Las Vegas has also announced that its racebook, sportsbook, and poker room will be shuttered starting Sunday, March 15.

Hard Rock is canceling shows at its U.S. properties for 30 days. It's also providing credit for fees incurred by customers canceling reservations.

While Las Vegas seems to be the locale that's doing the most to prepare for COVID-19, casinos in other parts of the country are also altering their normal procedures. The Illinois Gaming Board decreed that the state's 10 casinos will have to close for 14 days, starting Monday, March 16.

Three Pennsylvania casinos have announced their plans to shut down for the pandemic. Valley Forge Casino already ceased gaming operations on Friday, March 13. Harrah's Philadelphia and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh will close on Sunday, March 15.

U.S. Poker Events Suspended/Postponed/Canceled

Just as has already happened in other parts of the world, execs at major U.S. poker venues have announced certain alterations in their major tournament series. The Wynn Poker Classic and Foxwoods Poker Classic, both already underway, will finish currently running events and then will suspend the remainder of their schedules.

The World Series of Poker Circuit at Harrah's Atlantic City ran eight events before the rest of the tournaments were canceled. However, a similar series at Tulsa Hard Rock, currently underway, will proceed as planned. Harrah's Cherokee also was supposed to play host to a WSOPC series in April, but it has been canceled. Despite the disruptions to the WSOP Circuit tour, the main WSOP 2020 festival in Las Vegas has not been canceled or postponed (yet).

The Shooting Star $5,300 Main Event at Bay101 in San Jose was stopped with it was down to the final 10 competitors. They all agreed to an ICM chop of the prize pool.

The World Poker Tour stop at the Venetian in Las Vegas, originally scheduled for March 13 - 17, is now postponed. The Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood was supposed to hold a WPT event too, from April 16 - May 5, but it will be rescheduled for a future date.

March 10, 2020

Many B&M Poker Events Canceled/Postponed

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With global cases of coronavirus now surpassing the 100,000 mark, according to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization, a growing number of gaming companies are taking action. Rather than running the risk of mass infection, they're cutting back on their operations.

Perhaps the most extreme example is the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton, Oregon, which closed its doors on Monday, March 2 after an employee was found to be infected. This tribal casino, which includes a small poker room, remained closed for 48 hours, but following a “deep clean,” it reopened its doors on Wednesday, March 4. Casino management confirmed that the employee in question worked in a restricted area and did not have regular contact with the public.

King's Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic is taking a more targeted approach. On March 2, King's announced on Facebook that it was blocking access to people residing in and traveling from hard-hit Italy. These individuals aren't even permitted to book hotel rooms at the resort. All events that were principally marketed toward Italians have been canceled although other tournaments in its 160-table poker room – the largest in Europe – will continue as normal.

Indeed, King's Casino was not the only one that has canceled some poker events. Beyond the tournaments described later on this page, the following have been disrupted by fears of coronavirus:

      • PokerStars Road to PSPC - Hamburg, Germany (March 10 - 15)
      • PokerStars Road to PSPC - La Grand Motte, France (March 10 - 15)
      • Golden Poker Million - Marrakech, Morocco (March 13 - 22)
      • Unibet DeepStack Open - Aix en Provence, France (March 18 - 22)
      • Winamax Poker Tour Grand Final - Madrid, Spain (March 19 - 29)
      • World Poker Tour - Barcelona, Spain (March 27 - April 5)
      • PokerStars Road to PSPC - Madrid Gran Via, Spain (March 31 - April 5)
      • Irish Poker Open - Dublin, Ireland (April 6 - 13)

We've seen conflicting information regarding some of these poker festivals as to whether or not they have been canceled entirely or merely postponed. We suspect that some of the tourneys that have tentatively been postponed may wind up not happening at all depending on conditions on the ground. On the other hand, some of the canceled events might eventually be rescheduled or perhaps moved to alternate venues.

The series that's on everyone's mind, of course, is the annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It's scheduled to begin on May 26, and so far there are no plans of canceling it. WSOP spokesman Seth Palansky said, “We are monitoring COVID-19 developments very carefully and have no plans to cancel WSOP at this time.”

Feb. 23, 2020

Macau Closes Its Casinos in Response to Outbreak

Exit Sign

To many people, Macau is recognized as one of, if not the, world’s leading gaming destination. Being one of the few locations in China to provide authorized gambling establishments to the public, it has become quite the major resort city.

Just to compare Macau with Las Vegas, which many people would probably think of first when it comes to gambling destinations, Macau’s industry for gambling is seven times larger. That’s hardly a surprise, considering that China has taken various steps to ban gambling, including social poker apps and real money online poker sites, driving the mammoth populace of the country to head over to Macau for all their real money gaming needs.

Yet due to the threat of coronavirus, Macau has had to take drastic steps where its gambling industry is concerned. Only a few days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the virus outbreak is an international public health emergency on Jan. 30, the Chinese territory made the announcement that all casinos in the area would be closed for at least two weeks.

Macau had already had 10 cases of infected people confirmed in the week before the casino closures, and two of those cases were employees working within casinos there. Therefore, the Chief Executive of Macau, Ho Iat Seng, made the announcement that all 41 of its casinos would be closed from Feb. 5. Speaking during a television conference about the decision to take this course of action, he said:

Of course this was a difficult decision, but we must do it for the health of Macau’s residents.

Ho Iat SengMacau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng

Macau Casinos Reopen

After no new cases of coronavirus were reported during the two-week hiatus, the Macau government announced that the casinos would be allowed to reopen beginning Thursday, Feb. 20. Most of them did open their doors; however, they had to observe special rules designed to prevent the spread of the disease.

All guests and staff are required to wear face masks, and anyone entering the premises will be subjected to having their temperature checked. Furthermore, no more than four patrons are permitted to sit at the same gaming table, and half of the tables are to be left vacant.

Other related hospitality businesses, like bars, restaurants, and cinemas, remain shuttered.

What the Closure Means for Macau

Naturally, the two-week closure ensured a complete loss of earnings for the businesses involved during that time period. The threat of coronavirus was already believed to be responsible for a decline in gaming revenue for January, which saw a drop of 11.3%. Hotel occupancy also continued to weaken further in February to around 12%: down from 90% during the same period last year.

Of course, the spread of the virus hasn’t only affected the casinos within Macau but many other businesses as well. Stores like Apple and Starbucks have chosen to shut up shop for the time being whilst factories, such as those making automobiles, have taken the same decision.

Even when all major operators resume their normal routines, observers foresee that it will take three or four months for the Macau economy to return to normal.

Triton Super High Roller Series Jeju Affected by Virus

Triton Poker Logo

The Triton Super High Roller Series Jeju was due to take place from Monday, Feb. 10 and run right up until Feb. 22. It was supposed to occur at the Jeju Landing Casino based in Seogwipo on Jeju Island, South Korea. Yet, the casino, which first held a Triton Poker SHR event in 2018, has been forced to officially postpone it following the health concerns relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

As with Macau’s decision to close all casinos, the Triton Super High Roller event was only postponed once the WHO made its international emergency announcement. Naturally, China has been the country that has been most impacted by the epidemic, but South Korea isn’t too far away. What’s more, with numerous countries farther afield reporting cases of the virus reaching their shores, the best course of action was to postpone the series indefinitely.

Speaking of the decision to postpone the Super High Roller Series stop in Jeju, Triton Poker organizers said in a late-January official press release:

The safety of our players and support staff remains our utmost priority. Coupled with our duty to do everything we can in our power to prevent the virus from spreading, we’ve taken the difficult but correct stop [sic] of postponing the event with immediate effect.

Within the January press release, another statement on Feb. 10 was announced that might reveal “the potential resurrection of the event,” but the actual statement made on that date did not contain any rescheduled dates and said that “a decision to cancel Triton Jeju 2020 is a possibility.”

The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series first took place in 2016, with a single event being held in Manila, the Philippines. The following year, two events occurred – one in Manila and another in Montenegro – before in 2018, it arrived in South Korea alongside events in Montenegro and Russia. In fact, the Russian event was part of a partnership with PartyPoker LIVE. Last year added London, replacing Russia but retaining the stops in South Korea and Montenegro. Those same three countries were to make up the bill for 2020 with South Korea being the first destination.

World Poker Tour Asia Cautious

WPT Logo

Posting on Facebook on Feb. 14 on behalf of the World Poker Tour, Danny McDonagh explained the WPT's decisions regarding coronavirus:

We have come to the conclusion that it is best for WPT to take a break from events in Asia these next three months until a clearer picture about the spread of the Corona Virus, and the ability to safely hold the events, can be determined.

As part of this strategy, the WPT Vietnam event, originally scheduled for March 13 - 22, is canceled. Additionally, the Taiwan stop will be postponed from March 27 - April 6 to May 14 - 24.

Asian Poker Tour not Worried

APT Logo

While a few poker brands have made mention of the threat of coronavirus and its potential spread as reasons for canceling or suspending various tournaments, at least one brand has chosen not to do so. The 2020 season of the Asian Poker Tour kicked off in Vietnam on Friday, Jan. 10 and ran in that country until Jan. 21. Despite fear over the contagious virus, no warnings were put in place, and no cancelations occurred. A total of 394 players attended the events, coming from 41 different countries to do so.

Even now, the APT has opted to proceed business as usual. It is still thoroughly advertising the Taiwan stop that is to take place from March 4 to 15 on its Twitter feed. Explaining the reasoning behind this decision in a news release on the APT website, CEO Jeff Man elaborated:

...after looking at the situation on the ground; the measures being undertaken by the Taiwanese authorities, and the very strict daily health checks to be implemented by our host partner, the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Club (CTP Club) throughout the duration of the event, we felt there was no need to cancel.

A return to Vietnam for the APT is then scheduled for April 7 – 18, which is right before the APT Philippines event begins on April 27.

Quarantined Irish Teacher Plays Poker with Other Evacuees

Poker Hand

While the postponement of events and closure of casinos has led to some people being left without an option for participating in poker and other games, it wasn't all doom and gloom for others. An Irish teacher, who was quarantined in a British hospital for 14 days before being released on Feb. 12, has shared pictures of himself on Instagram taking part in what he has christened the “quarantine poker tournament.”

Quarantine PokerBen Kavanagh Posted a Picture of His “Quarantine Poker Tournament”

Ben Kavanagh, a psychology teacher who had been living and working in the city of Wuhan for around two years prior to the coronavirus appearing, was taken to an RAF base in Oxfordshire, U.K. on Jan. 31. He was required to spend two weeks there, quarantined with other evacuees from China.

From that location, it seems as though Kavanagh, from County Kildare, used his forced downtime effectively. Besides playing poker, he was able to interact with his students in China via the internet.

Playing Poker Online as An Alternative

Poker in general may currently be banned in most circumstances throughout China, and with Macau not having returned to normal quite yet, it must be frustrating for those looking to enjoy their favorite game. Fortunately, there are possibilities that allow you to engage in poker via the internet instead. You could, for example, opt to visit and sign up to the Bodog88 site, which we have reviewed in full. As a bonus, you will not catch COVID-19 while playing online poker tournaments!

If you’re based further afield, outside Asia, you can still play poker online at a variety of recommended online sites. We have a guide for Americans to locate a reputable online poker room. A variety of recommendations can be found through the guide, and most of these rooms accept players from around the world in addition to the United States.