Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Postponement of Triton Jeju Series

The Triton Super High Roller Series scheduled for mid-Februry in Jeju, South Korea has become the first poker event impacted by concern over the expanded threat by the 2019 novel coronavirus — 2019-nCoV — that emerged in China in December and has already spread to at least 14 countries.

To date, more than 200 people have died and over 10,000 have been confirmed as having contracted the virus, even as health officials around the globe are scrambling to isolate the outbreak, while also determining its rates of latency, transmission, and (sadly) morbidity, all of which will factor into how far the virus will spread and how severe its impact will be.

South Korea and other China-neighboring nations have already been severely impacted by travel restrictions, and the Triton events historically have drawn a large number of Chinese players. Here’s the statement as issued by Triton Poker:

Jan 2020 – It’s with a heavy heart that we inform you of the postponement of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in Jeju after the World Health Organisation (WHO) called the Coronavirus outbreak a ‘Public Health Emergency.’

Since the Coronoavirus first leapt from animals to humans in China a few weeks ago, close to 10,000 people have been infected, and it’s killed more than 200. All of the deaths have been inside China, but the virus has spread to more than a dozen countries.

The safety of our players and support staff remains our utmost priority. Coupled with our duty to do everything we can in our power to prevent the virus from spreading, we’ve taken the difficult but correct stop of postponing the event with immediate effect.

The thoughts and prayers of the Triton Poker Team are with the families of those that have lost their lives and for the ones fighting the virus all over the world.

Another official announcement in regards to the potential resurrection of the event will be made on February 10th, 2020.

Though it’s officially designated as a postponement, the reality of the situation is that this is a cancellation; the Jeju series is unlikely to be scheduled until the coronavirus outbreak is under control, and that likely won’t occur for several months at the least.

In fact, though this will be received negatively by some, the coronavirus outbreak could reach some level of “pandemic” level that should give concerns to poker players and workers planning on spending days or weeks in crowded venues. That’s absolutely a very-worst-case scenario, I hasten to add, that 2019-nCoV could become something like the 1918 Spanish flu, but sadly, such a breakout is within the realm of possibilities.

As such, older people and people with compromised immune systems ought to consider whether 2020 is a good year to travel to major poker events and tournaments. PokerNews already ran a feature a couple of days back about how to protect oneself from the spread of various bugs, but let’s face it: the ones who read such pieces aren’t generally the ones with the lousy hygiene that helps the bugs spread in the first place. PN also checked in with WSOP Seth Palansky, who said, “We’ve been monitoring the situation.”[We] will continue to lean on the experts in this field for guidance…. At this time, all our events and schedules remain intact and are planned to go on without interruption.”

It’s of course way too early for the WSOP or any of the other major summer series in Las Vegas to seriously consider cancellations, as there’s a significant chance the coronovirus could be wholly isolated before then. However, the timing of the outbreak will impact the decision-making processes of various staff and dedicated players who might spend the entire summer in Vegas, because they have to make long-term advance plans for travel and housing.

For me, it’s not as big a deal. I’d already learned my prior summer gig had evaporated for various reasons, and even it had been continued, I’d already been considering declining it. Two of the last three years, I’d contacted the “Rio Flu,” but this year, with the various visiting bugs possibly including something that carries a morbidity rate, it’s a far different equation to weigh. And let’s face it: The WSOP is an overcrowded, seven-week-long flowing mass of humanity. The registration and payout lines are an ongoing source of venue congestion, and the hallways are all but impassable at times. Add in that it’s an aging facility with not the greatest ventilation — the Amazon Room had the stench of raw sewer for at least one full day last summer — and it’s perhaps not as tough a decision as one might think.

Should a remote writing or editing opportunity appear, I might be interested, but otherwise discretion reigns. I’m sitting this one out.

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