APL Shanghai suspended to address legal problems with local authorities

News breaks while Somuchpoker is covering the event

Just a few short months after the initial success of the APL in Beijing, the tour returned to the mainland with its second tournament offering. This time the event took place in Kunshan, right outside the city of Shanghai.

APL Shanghai

The festival kicked off yesterday morning and was supposed to continue until the 29th of this month, holding numerous tournaments along the way. The enthusiasm that greeted the opening ceremony unfortunately didn’t last long.

Organiser stops the tournament

At around 8pm yesterday, organisers made the announcement that players would have to play their last few hands of the day and that the tournament had to be paused. Players bagged their chips after a shorter day than was expected, before leaving the venue.

The bad news became official this morning. After a meeting with the highest authorities of Kunshan City, organisers took the decision to stop the event.

Judic Kim, President of the APL spoke to Somuchpoker and said, “The Asia Poker League has always hosted events in compliance with local laws” “If there is a misunderstanding related to the scope of the event with the local authorities and that this problem cannot be solved it’s our responsibility to take such a decision” 

He added that, “Our priority is to protect our players and to make sure that the Asia Poker League future in Mainland China remains intact”.

An event hosted under APL’s local partners “PokerSports” Shanghai licence

APL Shanghai was created through a partnership between the Asia Poker League, Beijing Poker Club and PokerSports Shanghai Club. As host of the event, PokerSports Shanghai Club took care of securing the appropriate licence for the event. The local club has already organised several tournaments in the past with the blessing of local authorities.

Opening Ceremony

The big question here is, why would an agreement with the organisers be revoked just a few hours after the start of the event? According to Somuchpoker sources, confusion with local authorities arose when different entities in Kunshan all decided they wanted a bigger say on how the event was being conducted. When these other parties became involved, clearly established agreements that had been in place before the events began, suddenly became uncertain.

A regular problem in China

If, as reported on Somuchpoker the Chinese tournament poker scene continues to grow, it will not be without difficulties. Gambling remains illegal in China, and poker cash games are strictly prohibited. The Chinese poker scene has grown thanks to poker tournaments organised within the restrictive and sometimes unclear legal boundaries. Event organisers have managed to bring poker out from shady underground games and into the spotlight, but organising this type of event remains very challenging.

Article by Craig Bradshaw