Coronavirus Forces Schedule Changes to WSOP Circuit Events
This has certainly been a strange, unprecedented couple weeks. The coronavirus continues to spread around the world and because of this, countries, states, cities, and localities are taking drastic steps to try to slow the virus’s transmission rate. My family will be hunkering down in our house for a while, as both of my kids’ schools are closed indefinitely and my wife will be working from home. With the exception of the occasional trip to the store, I would imagine we’ll be keeping to ourselves. The concept of “social distancing” is beginning to have a major impact on the poker world and now, finally, the World Series of Poker has announced postponements to a number of WSOP Circuit stops as the result of COVID-19.
Harrah’s Atlantic City, the WSOP Circuit stop that is closest to its conclusion, has been suspended. This stop began March 5th and was to end on Monday, March 16th, but WSOP officials determined it was prudent to halt play for now. “Suspended” does not mean cancelled; it means everything is paused. Now, it is entirely possible that the remainder of play will eventually just be cancelled, but for now, things are just paused and will resume when “an appropriate time window has been determined.”
Across the country in the Los Angeles, California area, the WSOP Circuit stop at the Bicycle Casino, best known as “The Bike,” has also been suspended. Tournaments were scheduled to end on Wednesday, March 18th.
In fact, four L.A. card rooms closed this weekend: the Bike, Commerce Casino, Gardens Casino, and Hollywood Park Casino. One employee at the Commerce Casino has tested positive for COVID-19.
The four casinos issued a statement, which reads, in part:
In light of the Governor’s directive, as well as the nature of this unprecedented threat to public health, the casinos will close operations beginning this weekend. This closure will be temporary and all plan to re-open as soon as possible based upon the best available information. We believe that every business should put public health and the safety of people above profits….
WSOP Circuit Bally’s Las Vegas has been postponed indefinitely. It was supposed to begin this week. The World Series of Poker says, “Should new dates be established, they will be announced,” which sounds a bit dubious. “Postponed” means delayed, but there is no guarantee that the Bally’s Las Vegas stop will happen this year.
Same goes for Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina, which was still a few weeks out, April 8th through April 20th.
Interestingly, as of this past Friday, the WSOP Circuit Hard Rock Tulsa was still running as scheduled. It began just the other day, on March 11th, as it scheduled to last until March 23rd, so about another week. But this weekend, the casino announced that all tournaments starting Monday, March 16th and beyond have been cancelled.
Oklahoma has one of the lowest numbers of reported positive cases of coronavirus in the United States, but because the U.S. has had a woefully slow response to the virus and a severe lack of testing availability, there is no way to know just how widespread COVID-19 really is.
Over in Europe, a couple of the WSOP International Circuit stops have been put on hold.
The stop at King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, on the German border, has been suspended. King’s Resort has the largest poker room in Europe and is the home to the World Series of Poker Europe. The events there began March 5th and were to go into next week. When and if they are able to reschedule, the tournaments will pick up where the left off.
WSOP Circuit Casino Barriere Le Croisette in Cannes, France, has been postponed “indefinitely.” The tour stop was scheduled for April 9th through April 19th.
Just play online!
To partially make up for some of the postponed and suspended WSOP Circuit stops in the U.S., the World Series of Poker created the WSOP.com Online Super Circuit Series. Unfortunately, because legal, regulated poker is not widespread in the country, it is only open to players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. At least the WSOP.com/888poker network links those three states.
The Super Circuit Series began on Saturday, March 14th, and will run through the end of the month. It will feature 18 official gold ring events and more than $1 million in guaranteed prize pools. Because each tournament is a ring event, all players will have the opportunity to earn points toward the Global Casino Championship leaderboard.
The winner of the WSOP.com Online Super Circuit Main Event and the player who earns the most points across all 18 events (the casino champion) will earn free seats in the Global Casino Championship.
WSOP.com will hold a Mega Satellite on Saturday, March 28th, in which 20 seats into the Main Event are guaranteed.
The first event of the WSOP.com Online Super Circuit Series, $320 No-Limit Hold’em Double Stack, had a very solid turnout at 570 entries. The top 75 finishers made the money, with Vijay Para winning the tournament, cashing for $41,895.
The annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas is still on as scheduled.