This Week: COVID-19 Forces Cancellation of Poker Tournaments Worldwide

  • World Poker Tour has postponed events in Europe and the U.S.
  • WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam Main Event canceled during its first day
  • PokerStars Live PSPC lead-up events in Europe won't take place through April 10
  • U.S. Poker Open, 2020 Irish Poker Open, and others postponed
notice reading event canceled against a red curtain backdrop
Many live poker tournaments were postponed or canceled this week because of the COVID-19 virus. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Tough decisions made in the poker world

Numerous poker tournament organizers have decided to call off live events this week as the World Health Organization officially declared novel coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic. Most of the world’s sports leagues and sporting events, including March Madness, have also been postponed, suspended, or canceled.

Below, we will take a quick swing around the industry to look at which events were either canceled or postponed over the last several days.

World Poker Tour

On Tuesday, the World Poker Tour (WPT) and its partners, partypoker LIVE and Casino Barcelona, decided to postpone WPT Barcelona. The poker festival was scheduled for March 27 through April 5. They are hoping to reschedule later in the year.

WPTDeepStacks Maryland was postponed on Wednesday. The first events were due to kick off on Friday.

The WPTDeepStacks European Championship, slated for April 8 through April 13, was outright canceled Wednesday morning because of the spread of COVID-19 in France. At the time, the World Poker Tour said the WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam Main Event, which began Thursday, would be the last European event this season.

Holland Casino called off the WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam Main Event partway through the first day

But then the Dutch government announced that gatherings of more than 100 were prohibited to help slow the spread of the virus. As a result, Holland Casino called off the WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam Main Event partway through the first day.

Finally, the WPT postponed WPT at Venetian in Las Vegas, which was to kick off on Friday.

PokerStars LIVE

PokerStars also nixed live tournaments in Europe. On Sunday, the poker room announced it is postponing all European events until April 10. The three events that this affects are Road to PSPC Hamburg (Germany), La Grande Motte (France), and Madrid Gran Via (Spain).

On Thursday, April’s Lex Live 3 event at Aspers Casino in London was also postponed.

Series host Lex Veldhuis told the PokerStars blog, “Letting things just go through didn’t really seem like the best idea right now for my community.” He added that he hopes everyone can understand the difficult decision, saying,

I feel terrible that I can’t continue with this event as is.”

Veldhuis wanted to make the announcement as soon as possible so that players could rearrange their plans. He said he and PokerStars will help players as much as possible.

And many more

A number of other tournaments and poker series will not run as scheduled in both the U.S. and Europe. PokerGO postponed the U.S. Poker Open, which was scheduled to begin next week at the ARIA in Las Vegas.

“While we are disappointed that we are unable to host this event for our players and fans,” the company said, “our highest priority is the health and safety of all individuals involved in attending and producing Poker Central tournaments.”

Other United States tournaments affected include the RunGood Poker Series at Horseshoe Bossier City, which was postponed, and the Colorado Poker Championship, which has been canceled.

In Europe, poker casualties include the 888poker LIVE Bucharest Festival 2020 and May’s Coolbet Open, both of which were canceled. The 2020 Irish Poker Open has been postponed with the hope to reschedule. The Winamax Grand Final in Madrid won’t take place next week because of gathering and travel restrictions put in place by the Spanish government.