For over a month now, the entire world has been struggling with the coronavirus poker outbreak. The deadly virus started out in Wuhan, China, and has continued to spread around the globe, affecting the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people. Many countries are on lockdown, with people encouraged to stay home and avoid people for fear of contracting the disease or spreading it unknowingly.
Non-essential businesses such as casinos and other entertainment venues are closed as restaurants stay open in order to provide carryout only food. In the US, many individual states have issued stay at home orders and people are encouraged to only go out one at a time to stores for food shopping. Casinos have been shutdown for weeks in areas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, providing no alternative solutions to make money for players other than jumping onto a game online.
The poker community has been greatly affected by the outbreak, along with many other industries. Casinos are considered hot spots as they offer high touch point areas like poker cards and chips, slot machines and ATMs. With casinos closed, major poker events have been either postponed or canceled altogether.
Changes in Poker Tournament Schedules
The WSOPC has had to change events, even going online in states that allow online poker to provide players with access to gaming options. It’s the same for the World Poker Tour as well. Smaller poker tours like the HPT and others are experiencing the fate.
The WPT has an online series planned in conjunction with partypoker in May, offering $30 million in guarantees with 10 headlining events. The WPT Online Series will take place from May 10th to May 26th. This is just one way that live operators are moving to the online sector to offer poker gaming at this time of crisis.
With over 500,000 people affected in just the US by testing positive for the disease and almost 19,000 deaths, it will most likely be some time before the casinos are back up and running, along with other businesses. The Trump administration seems to want to try and reopen at least partially by May, however, health officials do not seem to be in agreement.
Will the WSOP be Cancelled in 2020?
This has many questioning as to whether or not the WSOP will take place in Las Vegas this summer. According to our colleagues at ProfessionalRakeback.com, the situation is looking rather bleak. So far, the WSOP has not revealed plans on what they will do if the coronavirus pandemic does not slow down by May. If the popular tournament series is shutdown in live form, it doesn’t mean that the event would not take place at all…
There have been talks about it being moved online, but that would limit the number of players who could compete due to limited access to WSOP.com in the US. This is because there are strict residence and IP restrictions in Nevada and most participants would need to physically be in the state itself by the time these tourneys started.
The WSOP might also choose to delay the series, moving it to later in the fall. The WSOP is currently weighing all their options and trying to figure out the best move for the series at this time, but it seems like things are looking bleak due to the outbreak of COVID-19 around the globe.
It is expected that an update will come either by the end of this month or in early May. For now, poker players are relying on online poker sites where available or simply practicing via social gaming sites until land-based venues are back up and running in popular gambling hot spots all over the world.
We will update with any new information that is released, especially once the officials of the WSOP decide to tell the public their plans for the 2020 series. We expect that by the end of April, more details will be provided especially considering what the federal government decides for the US regarding business reopenings or a continued closure.