Some Live Poker In Asia-pacific Region Still A Possibility

The world of live poker took a huge hit as the coronavirus spread around the world. What started in China quickly spread to other parts of the Asia-Pacific region and then to Europe, Africa, and North and South America.

To be fair, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit many industries quite hard. Everything from restaurants to clothing stores closed, leisure activities and shopping ended for the most part, sports of all kinds stopped in their tracks. And casinos closed.

Casinos were slow to close, choosing first to try to implement new cleaning and safety measures in an effort to stay open. That failed quickly, and casinos across Australia – and now New Zealand – officially closed last week on the orders of government and health officials.

When the virus began spreading in the United States before Australia, casinos began to close and poker tournament operators postponed or cancelled most tournaments around the world. Even if other countries were willing to host the tournaments, players would have had serious difficulties traveling to any location due to limited air travel, and few people from the US would have been able to travel anywhere.

So, while the poker industry is just one of many that suffered at the hands of this pandemic, it is an important one for many players around the world.

Some Series Operators Still Hopeful

There are a few poker tournaments still happening in various parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

The New Caledonia Poker Open just took place on the island of New Caledonia. The French territory has remained fairly unaffected by the virus thus far. Therefore, the tournament series started as scheduled on March 19 and concluded on March 29. The venue has yet to publish the results.

The Asian Poker Tour seems to be on course to continue hosting tournaments. It ran the APT Taiwan at the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Club in Taipei City from March 4-15 as scheduled. And the next stop, which will be APT Philippines at Resort World Manila, is still on schedule to begin on April 27 and run through May 10. The full schedule of 25 events are still on the calendar, with the two primary tournaments listed as:

  • April 30 – May 2: PHP22,000 NLHE Main Event Days 1A, 1B, and 1C
  • May 3: Main Event Day 2
  • May 4: Main Event Day 3
  • May 5: Main Event Final Table
  • May 6 – May 7: PHP82,500 NLHE Championships Event Days 1A and 1B
  • May 8: Championships Day 2
  • May 9: Championships Day 3
  • May 10: Championships Final Table

Major Tours on Hold Indefinitely

All tournaments that had been scheduled to take place in Australia are on hold indefinitely, per governmental orders. Tournament operators had no choice in the matter with the banning of public gatherings in excess of just a few people.

One of the hardest hits came for the Australian Poker Tour, which had long been looking forward to its Sydney stop at Bankstown Sports in NSW. The April 1-5 series had a full schedule of 20 tournaments, complete with a Main Event that boasted of a $150K guarantee for a $175 buy-in.

The World Poker Tour had been planning a much-anticipated return to The Star Gold Coast for the WPTDeepstacks festival set for April 24 through May 4. The WPTDS Main Event was set for April 30 to May 4 with a $1,500 buy-in.

The WPTDeepStacks tour is set to hit The Star Gold Coast in September 2020, and it will be the fourth stop on the new 2020-2021 season. At this point, the World Poker Tour is hopeful that this event will happen, as it will lead into a WPT event on the main tour. The first-ever WPT Australia will bring a $5,400 buy-in to The Star Gold Coast from October 1-5, though the entire series will take place from September 24 through October 6.

The Crown Poker Championship 2020 was also scheduled for April 15-27 at the Crown Melbourne. The much-anticipated series had big guarantees set for several of the 16 events planned, though the CPC Main Event guarantee had not yet been announced. It matters little now, though, as the series is cancelled for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen if it will be rescheduled.

Poker rooms from Sydney to Melbourne and the Gold Coast had to cancel all upcoming events through April, and the closures could remain in place through May. There is no way to know at this point.

Players may be turning to online poker or small home games, but their return to the live tables in Australia and even New Zealand is on an indefinite hold.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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