While players worldwide click away online for a chance at golden glory, in China the action was at Sanya, Hainan Island for the 2020 China Poker Games Championships. Featuring a RMB 10,000,000 (~US$ 1.4 million) guaranteed MAIN EVENT (Repechage) and 17 side games, the 8th annual festival ran from August 21 to 28 at the Howard Johnson Resort. Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, it produced nothing short of a full house.
With under 800 entries in 2013, the CPG Championships Main Event (Repechage) has since become the most highly anticipated and attended tournament in China. Last year the brand’s drawing power intensified, resulting in a thunderstorm of 3,132 entries. For the new year, confidence was high for another massive turnout however with the unexpected Covid-19 crisis, it was uncertain what numbers it would produce. In the end, it did not disappoint. A total of 3,352 entered to surpass the previous year’s turnout, making it the largest Main Event field ever seen in Asia. Breaking down the attendance:
Day 1A: 809 entries
Day 1B: 1,235 entries
Day 1C: 1,308 entries
Total entries = 3,352
With each entry at a buy in of RMB 10,000 (~US$ 1,400), the tournament generated a record breaking RMB 33,520,000 (~US $ 4.9 million) prize pool, the largest Main Event pot ever amassed in Asia.
The brand’s success in China has truly been an inspiration for organizers in the region. Its continued growth has made it worthy of being coined the “WSOP of Asia”. To run the eight day series, four event rooms were occupied with a combined 126 poker tables laid out. 182 dealers and 33 referees were hired. Prior to the pandemic, CPG was already a step ahead of every poker event in the world with its cashless transactions. This helped expedite the rush at registration. To address the crisis, required health procedures were in place, such as mandatory masks at the tables and an added Thermal Imaging Detector to better identify players with higher body temperature.
One of this year’s unfortunate changes was the exclusion of international players. Unlike last year with the Australian Poker Tour among the international contingent making the trip, this time around only locals were allowed to participate. Due to the ongoing pandemic, international events are still prohibited in China.
Moving forward, the CPG has two more stops planned before the year closes. The 2020 CPG Zhuhai Hengqin Satellite takes place on October 31st which is intended to feed the upcoming CPG Masters in Sanya in mid-December. While the organizers are looking forward to another smashing turnout, the main focus will be on how to manage the expected growth alongside the ongoing crisis.