Live poker for the once budding poker hub in Asia has reached a complete downfall since the global health crisis broke out earlier in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Metro Manila, Philippines was a popular pitstop for major poker brands having hosted several successful festivals year after year. Non-essential businesses which included the gaming sector were forced to temporarily shut down as the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on the overly populated market.
While the economy appeared to open up later that year, just three months after its first local poker room – PokerStars Live Manila located in Okada, Manila opened up, the community has once again been ordered to go into a second lockdown. In its official social media account, the PokerStars team announced today that it will be temporarily closing its facilities from March 29 – April 4, 2021 in compliance with the Government’s directives.
Metro Manila with a population of close to 13 million people alone, has been placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine in an effort to slow down the continuous increase in new cases. To date, the country ranks second for the highest number of cases in the region, seeing roughly 10,000 new cases per day. The sudden peak of infections has led its medical industry to be overloaded and incapable of handling the influx of patients. While the second lockdown is only announced to last a week, it remains doubtful that these poker clubs will soon reopen given the scenario.
The biggest card room in the country, Metro Card Club which previously followed suit and reopened its doors to eager poker players, has also been left with no choice but to halt its operations once again. For eleven months last year, the Club was completely left in the dark as the onset of the virus largely impacted the capital. Live poker action only lasted a month after it reopened last February 5, 2021 and shut down once again last March 22, 2021.
Considering the present circumstances in the nation, poker players craving for that live action will possibly have to wait a little bit longer to see a hint of normalcy to return. Public health and safety remains to be today’s top concern as the community pulls together to survive this difficult time.