The World Health Organization (WHO) declared last January 31 that we are currently experiencing a global health emergency as the Coronavirus continues to spread outside of China. Citizens of various countries are being urged to reconsider their travel plans due to the current situation. While confirmed cases of the virus are slowly dropping, multiple events around the Asia-Pacific region have been postponed to a later date or cancelled indefinitely.
Asia Poker Tour reconfirms event in Taiwan and Vietnam
APT Taiwan to continue
It has been confirmed last February 18 that the Asian Poker Tour Taiwan leg would push through as scheduled on dates 4-15 March 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan. With the success of last year’s festival garnering the best attendance recorded by an APT event, both local and international players are looking forward to playing the said event.
Jeff Mann, Chief Executive Officer of APT, relayed the following given the status of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region,
“It goes without saying that our prime concern was the health and safety of all those to be involved with the event, but after looking at the situation on the ground; the measures being undertaken by the Taiwanese authorities, and the very strict daily health checks to be implemented by our host partner, the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Club (CTP Club) throughout the duration of the event, we felt there was no need to cancel.
For us though, the final decision was made by our customers – our poker players both local and International – they have voted overwhelmingly that APT Taiwan should proceed”.
Inspite of this, Mann also announced that the series will withdraw all of its prize pool guarantees to cope with the sudden changes. Although it is already presumed that fewer international players are likely to attend, local participation is still expected to remain strong. The 12-day poker festival will continue as scheduled with the Main Event having only two starting days instead of three but will maintain the rest of the events.
APT Da Nang maintained
With cancellations of events here and there, APT Da Nang will also carry on as scheduled on dates 7-18 April, 2020 at Risemount Premier Resort Da Nang, Vietnam. No changes are currently planned according to APT General Manager and Executive Tournament Director, Lloyd Fontillas.
The series will hold a total of 23 events within the 12-day period with the Main Event and Championships Event being the highlights of the festival. Buy-ins of said tournaments are VND 22 Million (~USD 945) and VND 38.5 Million (~USD 1,653) respectively. The APT Da Nang series will have a guaranteed prize pool but the exact number will be announced closer to the event.
Difficult Times for Asia
Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak happening globally, the poker scene has unfortunately been negatively affected. Multiple series scheduled this month have been postponed indefinitely or cancelled all throughout. Preventive measures are effectively being carried out to curb the spread of the virus in the region.
Triton SHR Series Jeju
The Triton Super High Roller Series was supposedly scheduled to start on the 10th of February with 12-days of world-class events to be held in Landing Casino, South Korea. To date, the Triton Series has been postponed until further notice with no announcement yet as dates will be planned in due course.
APL Da Nang
Due to the outbreak, the Asia Poker League Da Nang series scheduled on 19-28 February, 2020 has officially been cancelled. The decision was made by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to ban all international sporting events this month of February in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the rapid spread of the virus. The Vietnam Sports Administration also released a statement last February 4 advising that the staging of larger national and international events after February would still be under review.
WPT Season affected
World Poker Tour’s Danny McDonagh has also announced that it is best for WPT to take a break from events in Asia in the next three months until a clearer picture about the spread of the Coronavirus and the ability to safely hold the events can be determined. Given this, WPT is cancelling Season XVIII WPT Vietnam which was originally scheduled to take place on March 13-22. The WPT Taiwan season finale, also scheduled for late March, has been postponed to May 14-24 with the assumption that all is going well.
Despite the recent setbacks, the World Poker Tour festival held in Manila, Philippines ran smoothly surpassing the original guarantee of PHP20 Million (~USD 395,435) for the Main Event with a buy-in of PHP 75,000 (~USD 1,500). It was initially reduced to PHP12 Million in light of the recent travel ban from neighboring countries imposed by the President. The event garnered a total of 344 entries creating a prize pool of PHP 22,523,400 (~US$ 445,400) with Bulgaria’s Dimitar Blazhev bagging PHP 4,812,000 (~US$ 95,200) for the top prize.