Last week, the Asian poker community was stricken by a startling announcement – a ban on all poker applications in Mainland China. This was promptly followed by a decision restricting poker promotion on all Chinese social media such as WeChat.
This week also brings its share of unpleasant news with the closure of two poker rooms and the cancellation of what should have been the first event hosted in Macau by Alisports (an offshoot of Alibaba).
Alisports postpones IPT Macau.
Alisports intended to make its first step outside China from May 16th – 20th by hosting the International Poker Tour Macau. The event initially featured a HK$5 million guaranteed Main Event and would have taken place at the Venetian.
The cancellation is a direct consequence of the upcoming bans on poker applications. The event organizers were heavily reliant on Chinese players qualifying for the IPT Macau event through Alibaba’s recently launched poker app. Also, the IPT Macau event was intended to promote their new online platform, which has since become obsolete due to China’s recent ban.
The event organizer provided the following statement:
IPT 2018 Macau Postponement Announcement
After careful consideration, the IPT Organizing Committee has decided to postpone their stop in Macao. IPT 2018 matches will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for updates on the IPT official website (http://ipt.mind-sports.com), where all changes and updates will be released through IPT official announcements.
City of Dreams ends the agreement with PokerStars Live Macau
This partnership allowed PokerStars to host some of its most significant events in Asia. A few days ago, the Macau Millions attracted a record-breaking field of 2,499 players; topping the previous all-time high of 2,343 entrants in 2016.
The City of Dreams poker room has now closed. The closure is linked to the end of the contract between PokerStars and the casino operator. It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of PokerStars activity in Macau, but more likely relocation to a new venue.
Somuchpoker has reached out to PokerStars for more details and is awaiting a reply.
Galaxy Macau poker room closed.
This doesn’t mean that poker is no longer part of the Macau landscape; the Asian Poker Tour is currently running a successful event at the Macau Billionaire Club (a venue that will see a 2nd event June), and both the Wynn and the Venetian are still offering cash games.