Coronavirus impacts poker circuit outside of Asia: Siege of Malta cancelled, Italian travelers banned from King’s Casino

As the Coronavirus continues to spread globally, many countries are beginning to take extra precautionary measures to combat the situation. Poker festivals, not limited to Asia, are directly affected as well, with many schedules being abruptly adjusted. International players who are keen to travel are advised to frequently check tournament dates and be updated with the latest poker news.

Siege of Malta Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Concerns, Battle of Malta on Schedule

Just last Thursday, Casino Malta, together with Olympic Casino announced that the annual Siege of Malta will be cancelled in regards to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. The tournament was scheduled to take place at the InterContinental Conference Centre in St Julian’s on 15-20 April, 2020. The series would supposedly feature a €500,000 (~US$ 561,822) GTD Main Event along with several other side events including the High Roller by Domus Bet and the Casino Malta Star.

A spokesperson added, “Due to grave concerns about the outbreak of Coronavirus, and following health guidance from organisations such as the Maltese Health Authorities and the World Health Organisation, we have reluctantly decided to cancel the new Siege of Malta tournament in April.”

“In addition to wanting to protect all our players and staff, we also wish to take a responsible stance in helping to contain the virus. In common with many, many other organisers of public events, we are erring on the side of caution and common sense in taking the decision to cancel.”

On the other hand, the Battle of Malta, the casino’s flagship event, will remain on schedule this coming 15-22 October, 2020. One of the biggest tournaments held in Europe, it is set to return to St. Julian’s with no change of plans as of now.

The series will host a €500 + €55 (~US$ 680) Main Event and a €1,000,000 (~US$ 1,123,645) guaranteed prize pool along with numerous side events within the 8-day period. The press release included “October is a long way ahead and we anticipate that there will be many positive developments regarding Coronavirus before the Battle of Malta,” the note concluded.

“We apologise for any disruption caused to players who were keen to compete at Siege of Malta, and we encourage everyone to come along to the Battle of Malta in October instead.”

King’s Casino Closes Doors to Recent Travelers from Italy

Poker Room Kings Casino Rozvadov 1
King’s Casino

With five new cases confirmed in Czech Republic, King’s Casino, Europe’s largest poker room in Rozvadov, has decided to close its doors to anyone who has recently traveled from Italy from entering the premises. The indefinite ban is a preventive measure acted upon by the establishment along with the cancelling of all events for the coming months, March and April.

The decision was made after two cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic were traced back to Italy. The venue’s PR team added, “King’s Resort communicates with regret to its customers that, given the evolution of the epidemic phenomenon coronavirus that for a few hours has been interested in the Czech Republic (with two [cases] contracted in Prague after visiting Italy), in order to safeguard the health of our international guests and prevent the spread of the Covid-19, we have chosen to completely limit access in all areas of the casino, not even accepting hotel reservations, to all residents and coming from Italy indefinitely, canceling from now all the events of March and April 2020 that target mainly target the audience mentioned above.”

Partypoker’s Rob Yong Detailed Partypoker Live Response

Despite the happening outbreak and events canceling here and there, Partypoker is leaning towards pushing through many of its events but are proceeding with caution. With this decision, the online gaming room will offer its players and employees maximum freedom to choose what is right for them. Rob Yong emphasizes that carefulness should be practiced especially with mass-market events where crowds are to be expected along with the need for players to travel. He also noted that respect for staff’s wishes is necessary especially for those concerned about the virus and to not force anyone to be in an uncomfortable situation. Given this, players who have won their way directly into a live event will be able to transfer that entry to another equivalent event while staff will be given the option not to travel for work and other events they wish not to attend.

Yong mentioned that events hosted by Partypoker will be on a case to case basis with regards to different variables such as target audience, player pool size, exposure and so on. The best solution for each will be taken into account and be acted upon by an agreed decision with its partner casinos.

Players Hope for No Impact on WSOP

First Case in Nevada

The Southern Nevada Health District reported last Thursday that a patient in Nevada tested presumptively positive for novel Coronavirus. The Clark County man in his 50s with underlying health conditions is currently hospitalized and in airborne isolation. It was determined Wednesday evening through a local test carried by a health authority. Further testing is being carried out with samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for official confirmation. However, Health District Chief, Dr. Fermin Leguen advised that the chance of a false positive is relatively small as local tests have more than 95 percent accuracy.

It has been reported that the patient has recently traveled to Washington State where the virus has been widely spreading as well as Texas, where cases have also been reported. Despite this information, it is still to be determined whether he had come in contact with any COVID-19 patients in either state.

In a news conference on Thursday morning, Leguen stated “We are now in the process of investigating more about the different activities of this person,” while also noting that in Nevada, “the transmission of coronavirus is considered low. We don’t have any confirmed local transmission of coronavirus.”

First casino in USA closed

There is definitely no exception as to where the Coronavirus will hit next. Unfortunately for the Wildhorse Resort and Casino located in Pendleton, Oregon, a temporary closure of its facilities has been implemented due to an employee testing positive for the said virus. The infected employee has since been hospitalized and is reportedly the third confirmed case for the state.

Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and state epidemiologist, advised: “With having three cases fairly quickly identified, two of which we can’t identify the specific source, that would indicate to us that this disease is circulating in our community and we will likely see additional cases.”

The casino also stated that all community events will be canceled for the remainder of the week, with the casino, an education facility, tribal elders community center and the cultural institute also being shut down for a number of days for disinfection purposes.


Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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