If things couldn’t get any worse for Tencent Holding Ltd, after reporting big drops to their stock this year, the tech-giant announced the closure of its Tencent Poker app and the cancellation of the 2018 WSOP China. The news was expelled in the Tencent Poker app on Monday, September 10, 2018. Players attempting to access their account were instead met with a letter announcing the closure and the refund procedures.
According to the announcement, the closure was due to an “adjustment of the company’s business” and that the game server will begin the process of shutting down and cleared of all its data by September 25, 2018.
The end of Tencent’s poker ambitions?
Ever since the Chinese government ordered a nationwide ban of all Texas Hold’em apps starting June 1, 2018, the only app where Chinese players could still access online poker was through the Tencent Poker app. The WSOP-authorized “Daily Texas” app, the largest Texas Hold’em platform in China, continued to run as lobbyists campaigned to keep its services available to the public. With those efforts unsuccessful, the service has now been terminated leaving questions as to the future of WSOP China and the partnership with Tencent.
It was just over one year ago, in July 2017, when these two brands joined forces. Their partnership birthed the first WSOP China held in Sanya, Hainan Island in December. The event was a big success with 781 players for the Main Event and a prize pool of around US$2.4 Million. All of the players qualified through the Tencent Poker app. China’s Yunpeng Zhou claimed the title and strapped the first-ever WSOP bracelet awarded in China.
Post-ban live events in China
Yet despite this recent news, poker is still accessible and vibrant in China. After the ban, live tournaments continued to run and with much success. In mid-July, the Silk Road Cup in Xi’an attracted 1,112 entries to the Main Event; this was followed by the Asia Poker League’s – APL Xi’an – with 760 Main Event entries; and in just a week’s time, the Poker King Club will host the Poker King Cup Macau 2018. The event takes place at The Venetian Macao from September 20 to September 25.
Article by Tricia David