Boyaa Poker Tour Resurfaces, Moves Live Events Outside Chinese Jurisdiction
Here’s an interesting little tale from China, where poker remains not exactly The Next Big Thing™. Hong Kong-based Boyaa Interactive Limited, which was among the companies whose popular “Texas Hold’em Poker” smartphone apps were among those banned in China last year, has relaunched its once-growing Boyaa Poker Tour. The 2019 edition of this event will be held in Taiwan in just a few weeks, from June 28 to July 3rd, 2019.
The juicy little bit about this tale is that it has been moved to Taiwan, after earlier editions of the series were held within China’s jurisdiction. It’s more than a nod and a wink to the fact that underground, app-based poker still thrives in China, despite the official ban on poker-themed apps from China’s available app stores, along with strong censorship of chat related to poker on China’s prominent social-media platforms.
Boyaa issued this statement, which contains more than just a tweek aimed at China’s government, which we’re reprising here for its glorious cheekiness:
2019 Boyaa Poker Tournament Asia Schedule Announced
From Boyaa Interactive, the 5th edition of these popular poker series is back! This year, instead of the sumptuous casinos of Macau or the most luxurious resorts of Sanya, 2019 BPT Asia will take place in one of the most exciting cities of the world;Taipei, the soul of Taiwan and a sanctuary for Asian cultures.
The BPT event team recently announced the official full schedule of the TOURNAMENT. Be ready! BPT 2019 Asia will run from JUNE 28 to JULY 3!
An ecstasy of Texas Poker and a Prize Pool of 5 million NTD (approx. 160K$)!
Every year Boyaa Interactive makes an effort to bring something unique to our poker players, and for this BPT offline tournament, we have decided to go All-in with a professional competition and a charming trip. A gift for our loyal Boyaa Poker players and for all Texas Hold ’em enthusiasts in Asia. At the same time, following our tradition of organizing a wide variety of events, this BPT will have lots of Side Events, such as the exciting High Roller, Short Deck, and Rounders.
Poker, Asia, and leisure. Those are the three critical factors of this BPT tournament that will last six extraordinary days. Days to spend playing cards in an international poker tournament and also enjoying this touristic place with such a rich variety of food, culture, and pleasures.
The 2019 BPT online qualifiers started in April, and so far there have been thousands of participants and more than 100 winners of the coveted invitations for the offline finals in Taipei.
And what better than local poker stars from Taiwan to help us in promoting this initiative of Texas Poker! The 2nd winner of the 2017 BPT No Limit Hold’em, David Tai; Taiwan Millions Tournament champion, ArTLess; Pokerstars LIVE Manila Super Series champion, Tsui Han Hsiao; all of them have given a warm welcome to BPT and its team. Thank you all!
Remember, the final countdown has started, and the online qualifiers are still on fire!
See you in June, in Taiwan, for the BPT finals.
BPT official website: www.bpt.net/?homemedia
How to participate: Download “Boyaa Texas Hold’em” APP in the language version you prefer, and to register for the competition.
“A sanctuary for Asian cultures” indeed, referring not only to Taiwan, but to the fact that gambling is a rich Asian tradition, no matter what Chinese authorities might think about it.
As one can see at the bottom, Boyaa is still pointing people toward its poker apps, and the vast majority of participants in earlier Boyaa Poker Tour events came from mainland China. Boyaa’s poker apps have served not only as an underground-gambling vehicle, but also as a recruitment tool for the company’s occasional live events. Banned or not, however, the apps offered by Boyaa and other Chinese manfacturers still exist, are likely still distributed in an underground manner, and still support the officially illegal activity.
The Boyaa Poker Tour itself turned out to be one of the thorns that irritated China in a significant way, and Boyaa’s continuing the tour, but outside mainland China, still carries some risk. Last year, Boyaa boss Zhang Wei was sentenced to 12 months in prison and Boyaa paid an undisclosed fine for its recruitment activities supporting the underground poker games, which used the company’s apps as a game-engine proxy while real-money wagers were paid in person between gamblers. Though details are sparse, Zhang Wei and Boyaa were found guilty of promoting the activity.
Boyaahas since moved its poker-app operations to Hong Kong, where it’s likely keeping a very close eye on larger mainstream developments in Hong Kong, involving unpopular plans by Hong Kong’s government to consider an extradition bill that would bring Hong Kong’s millions of citizens within the reach of mainland China’s law. Mass protests have erupted, since the bill, if passed, could shred Hong Kong’s stance as a haven from repressive mainland Chinese rule, as it has been since the territory returned to China’s control after being a long-term British protectorate. Let’s just say Boyaa is likely keeping a close eye on those developments.
Nonetheless, Boyaa doesn’t seem to be willing to walk away from poker, and the reawakening of the Boyaa Poker Tour is an interesting development indeed.