- »Poker Limited in Many Australian Casinos Due to COVID-19
Poker Limited in Many Australian Casinos Due to COVID-19
The good news is that casinos remain open in Australia.
The bad news is that the live poker offerings are limited, as casinos have been cancelling tournaments and reducing the amount of poker action available.
Many people in Australia are also in self-isolation or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus currently spreading around the world. As of March 18, there were more than 207,000 cases of the virus around the world and more than 8,200 deaths as a result. However, in Australia, there were only 709 cases with six deaths.
Per the directive from Crown Resorts, the company is following social distancing policies devised by the Victorian and Western Australian governments.
As it pertains to gambling at Crown Melbourne, the new policy deactivated every second gaming machine and electronic table game. At table games and poker tables, the casino instructed players to refrain from standing around the tables. Stand-up table games were restricted to just five players maximum.
However, regular poker tournaments have been progressing as normal, though attendance has been down. For example, this week’s Monday Megastack brought in 32 players for the $150 buy-in NLHE event for a $3,840 prize pool. Last week’s Monday Megastack had 63 entrants and a $7,560 prize pool.
However, Crown just announced yesterday that the Wednesday Night NLHE and Friday Freezeout events were removed from the calendar, cancelled indefinitely due to “ongoing concerns around COVID-19.
Some special tournament series remain on the schedule, such as the Aussie Millions Warm-Up Week set for May 25-31, 2020. On the other hand, the Crown Poker Championship is now postponed indefinitely. The series was scheduled for April 15-27.
The rules for the Perth casino in general were much the same, with similar precautions in place. As for the poker room, per the rules, they limited seating to five players at a time.
However, all tournaments were cancelled this week. The Sapphire Series Poker Challenge, which was scheduled for May 21-31, was suspended until further notice, along with all satellites. The Monday and Thursday night poker tournaments were also suspended.
The note on the Crown Perth Poker Facebook page indicated the decisions were made due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in Australia. Players who commented on the post were in agreement that it was unfortunate but the right thing to do.
The Star Gold Coast
With its newly renovated poker room in use toward the of 2019, The Star Gold Coast planned for bigger poker tournament series throughout 2020. That progress and growth is now on hold.
The latest message from The Star Gold Coast property as a whole came on March 18. The Star Entertainment Group decided to close each of its three casinos, actually, each day for a thorough cleaning. The Star Gold Coast, specifically, will close each day from 4am to 8am for “comprehensive cleaning procedures.”
The company also instituted social distancing measures earlier in the week. Every second gaming machine and electronic table game was deactivated, the space between players seated at table games increased, and the number of players at each stand-up table game was restricted.
At poker tables, only five seats could be occupied at a time. And per The Star Gold Coast’s Facebook page, all weekly tournaments were cancelled “for the time being.”
The website does list the WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast festival as unaffected thus far. The series is scheduled to run from April 24 to May 4.
Could Get Worse Before Getting Better
Over the past several weeks, the coronavirus went from something happening in China, Iran, and Italy to a worldwide problem eventually dubbed a pandemic.
As testing becomes more prevalent, the number of positive results for COVID-19 will increase. The numbers will dictate how businesses react and response.
Until 2020, most people never thought that Macau would shut down all of its casinos for any reason, but they did so for two weeks in February to stop the spread of the virus. And most never anticipated the close of the entirety of the Las Vegas Strip, but that happened this week.
More poker tournaments in the coming month or two, at a minimum, will likely be cancelled. Not only will restrictions continue to limit the number of people allowed to gather in Australia, it will continue to be difficult to find flights. Moreover, anyone entering Australia now must submit to two-week quarantine periods, which will severely inhibit the ability for people – with the WPTDeepStacks team, for example – to deliver promised poker action.
This is only a non-medical opinion, but the pandemic is likely to get worse before it gets better. Play cash games while you can…because those may be unavailable at Aussie casinos soon as well.