Similar to other international countries, Australia was seemingly on the road to normalcy with non-essential businesses and even casinos reopening its doors to the public last June. Further easing of restrictions earlier this month was a result of continuous low new cases recorded throughout the country aside from the recent outbreak seen in the state of Victoria.
Live poker was also slowly seen resuming operations in a few locations under specific guidelines to ensure overall public health and safety. However, due to the reported new confirmed cases on the rise, gaming authorities and operators have decided to take a more conservative route, postponing and cancelling multiple events lined up for the year.
Australian Poker Tour’s supposedly first post-covid event cancelled
Announced late last month, one of the leading tournament hosts in the country, the Australian Poker Tour announced its first live series since February set to occur on the 4th of September up until the 6th at Southport Sharks located on the Gold Coast only to be retracted two weeks after. The 3-day series was originally arranged to have a 10-handed set up keeping social distancing guidelines in check between tables. Supposedly a good test run for what is to come later in the year, the decision to cancel may ultimately be for the best given the growing number of cases specifically in the states of Victoria and New South Wales.
In an official announcement, the APT relayed the news saying, “We regret to inform that due to the current increase in public health concerns and continued venue restrictions with Covid-19, we unfortunately have to cancel the Southport Sharks Series in September.
APT apologises to all our players & affiliates who were planning to travel from near and far. These are very difficult times navigating through covid19.
We hope to see you on the felt very soon. Stay safe ”
While several local poker players were looking forward to the event, many were sad and sympathetic upon reading the news from the operator. Few options are left for poker enthusiasts geo-located in the country in addition to missing out on multiple major online series in view of the online gambling ban imposed by the Australian government.
Star Poker Sydney closes down for the rest of the year
The unfortunate news of a possible second wave of infection hitting Australia’s second biggest city came to light as the state recorded 20 new cases in the last 24 hours. Star Sydney Casino being the second largest gaming establishment in the country, also made news as the venue was informed by NSW authorities that a patron who visited on July 4th tested positive for the virus. Considering the current COVID-19 situation, the official poker room has decided to cancel all operations for the rest of the year including cash games and major tournaments such as the WSOP Sydney.
Just yesterday, the Twitter post from the operator read, “Star Poker cash games and tournaments for the remainder of the year have been cancelled until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank everyone for understanding.”
Star Poker cash games and tournaments for the remainder of the year have been cancelled until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank everyone for understanding.
— Star Poker Sydney (@StarPokerSydney) July 19, 2020
Additionally, The Star Casino was put under scrutiny for breaching social distancing health orders and was fined $5,000 just hours after confirming the attendance of the coronavirus positive guest. Under the NSW Health rules, patrons of such establishments must remain seated when consuming alcohol but were seen standing and mingling following a third inspection of the venue by the NSW Liquor & Gaming Authority.
While it would take weeks for the outbreak to subside according to Australia’s acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly, the main casino will be continuously running operations only implementing further measures in efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Second location Star Poker Gold Coast has synonymously decided to close its poker room offerings mentioning that it will open once again when restrictions permit a minimum of six players.
Crown Melbourne remains closed; Perth location adjusts live poker games
Home to the Aussie Millions, major operator Crown Melbourne Poker remains closed indefinitely with no update on plans when it will reopen. It has been three months since the establishment halted operations with the rise of ongoing concerns around COVID-19 in the country. Supposedly running the Aussie Millions Warm-up Week followed by the Aussie Millions Triple two weeks ago, the anticipated festivals has been eventually postponed for now.
Crown Perth Poker which resumed its cash games last end of June, additionally made adjustments to their live poker offerings posting the following on their official Facebook page, “Hi everyone, As of 12:00pm Sunday 19th July we will no longer be able to offer 1/3 NLH. 2/5 NLH (buyin $200-$500, commission 10% capped at $15) will be our main game with other buyin variants available. 1/3 PLO is also 10% capped at $15. A copy of all structures is available to view in the Poker Room. Thanks”
In line with this, the games will remain five-handed until physical distance restrictions are lifted.