With plenty of uncertainty surrounding the postponing of events in the world of sports, the poker industry has taken a proactive and open approach with their players.
Many poker events have now been postponed in an effort to protect players and stop the spread of the Coronavirus. This is in sharp contrast to the mixed messages other sports organisations are relaying.
Football and Formula 1 plow ahead
The first disruption of an English Premier League match due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus has occurred with Arsenal’s match with Man City being postponed. Arsenal recently played Olympiakos, yet since that match, it has been revealed the Olympiakos owner has been diagnosed with the virus. Arsenal players are believed to have interacted with the owner during the Europa league tie. Despite this, the Europa League match between Wolves and Olympiakos is still due to go ahead, this is despite Wolves appeal to have the match postponed due to the risk it carries towards their players.
Club statement | Olympiacos fixturehttps://t.co/oBZycX5rU7
— Wolves (@Wolves) March 10, 2020
The first Formula One Grand Prix of the year in Australia is also still due to go ahead. This is despite the announcement that a McLaren team member has had to self-isolate today due to being infected with the Coronavirus.
Poker events postponed
In contrast, the poker world has acted swiftly, early and responsibly.
Pokerstars has announced that they are cancelling all European events up until April 10th. Players who are supposed to be entering these tournaments are being contacted and will have their seats transferred to future tournaments.
Due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, we have taken the decision to postpone all European events up until April 10, 2020.
Full update: https://t.co/RsM2RP3G8S
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) March 8, 2020
partypoker LIVE has also been extremely proactive in the postponing or cancellation of their events. One example of this is the inaugural MILLIONS Cyprus event, which has been postponed until August this year.
— partypokerLIVE (@partypokerlive) March 10, 2020
The nature of live poker tournaments is that you have large numbers of people flying in from all over the world, converging in a confined space and passing chips and cards between each other, companies have sensibly put the health of their players as their top priority.
What happens next?
Depending on the severity and length of the outbreak it is unknown when both the sporting world and general society will return to normal.
However, partypoker ambassador Patrick Leonard has suggested that the Coronavirus has the possibility to become a boon for the online poker industry. This is one distinct advantage that poker has over traditional sports, the ability to play both online and offline.
Left side prediction: Covid hits America hard, casinos close for substantial time, online gambling gets pushed hard from the country and we finally get legalised unregulated online gambling. Insane poker boom and we have WSOP fully online for 2020 with ridic numbers.
— Patrick Leonard (@padsPokerSquad) March 10, 2020
Update – 888poker are the latest company to cancel an event with their Bucharest 2020 Festival removed from the calendar due to fears over the Coronavirus. Players who won packages to the event will be allowed to enter another 888poker event later in the year.
we recognize the health of attendees and participants comes first. It is on this basis that we have made the decision to cancel our 888poker LIVE Bucharest Festival 2020, acknowledging that allowing such a gathering to take place would risk undermining efforts to prevent 2/4
— 888poker (@888poker) March 11, 2020
18+. Play responsibly. Begambleaware