WPT Barcelona, Irish Open, and Winamax Grand Final Fall Victim to COVID-19
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March 10, 2020 will be a day that poker players remember for all the wrong reasons. Three major live poker festivals, WPT Barcelona, the 2020 Irish Open, and Winamax’s Grand Final were all postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
WPT Exploring Possibility of Holding Barcelona Festival Later in the Year
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread throughout Spain and this is the main reason the World Poker Tour took the decision to postpone the upcoming WPT Barcelona festival.
WPT issued a statement on the Casino Barcelona website that reads:
Following extensive discussions on the Coronavirus, Casino Barcelona and its partners the World Poker Tour and partypoker LIVE have together reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the upcoming WPT Barcelona festival which was due to take place March 27th – April 5th.
Like other countries, the Coronavirus is spreading in Spain and our priority is, and always will be, the safety and experience of players and staff. All three parties are currently exploring the possibility of holding the event later in the year.
Players who qualified online for the event via partypoker will have flexibility with their packages.
Rumors Of Irish Open Cancelation Come True
The 2020 Irish Open will not go ahead between its planned dates of April 6-13 after its management team pulled the plug on poker’s second-longest running festival.
Only 34 Irish residents have contracted the virus and there have been no reported deaths, but the Irish Open is attended by poker players from all over the world. Having thousands of people from around Europe traveling to Dublin for the week-long festival seems to be too much risk for the Irish Open’s organizers.
The official Irish Open statements read in full:
We, at the Irish Poker Open, have been closely monitoring the developing situation in relation to the Covid-19 virus worldwide. Up to now, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that all guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation and the Irish Health Service Executive, for the provision of large events, were being implemented for Irish Open 2020.
The situation in relation to Covid-19 is evolving on a daily basis. We have to ensure that the safety and well being of our players and staff is our utmost priority and it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the event.
We are now in discussions with the Citywest Hotel to secure an alternative date for the Irish Open Festival later in the year. All current Irish Open 2020 qualifiers will have their current satellite seat redirected to the new date later this year or to Irish Open 2021. Further information on this will be made available as soon as possible.
We hope that all players and staff remain safe in these trying times.
The Irish Open Team
Spanish Government’s Action Causes Winamax Grand Final Postponement
The third major festival to be postponed is the Winamax Poker Tour Grand Final that was set to run at the Casino Gran Madrid Torrelodones from March 19-29. PokerNews received confirmation this week that the Grand Final was all set to run with Winamax taking several measures, including frequently cleaning the poker tables, to ensure the safety of staff and players.
A statement issued to PokerNews shows the more drastic measures the Spanish government is taking to help prevent the COVID-19 virus spreading has resulted in the Grand Final being postponed, possibly even canceled completely.
Following the measures announced today by the Spanish government, which includes a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people and the recommendation to reduce travel to the strict minimum, Winamax, and the Casino Gran Madrid Torrelodones will no longer be able to host the Winamax Poker Tour Grand Final. All tournaments initially taking place from 19th to 29th March have therefore been canceled.”
Winamax’s statement continues by saying Winamax is currently looking at all possible solutions for rescheduling the grand Final or even refunding all tickets. Winamax will contact all players who qualified for the Grand Final tournaments via live steps tournaments and online satellites in due course.
Which Other Live Poker Events Are Under Threat?
The article we published earlier today shows the current status of live poker tournaments scheduled for the rest of March and throughout April.
Looking into May, there are several tournaments that could be at risk of postponement.
888poker is set to jet off to Barcelona from May 14-25 while the WSOP International Circuit heads to Paris from May 18 to June 1.
Unibet’s Deepstack Open has events scheduled in Pronic, France and Sanremo, Italy as May draws to a close. The latter is almost certainly going to be postponed because Italy is struggling to contain the coronavirus and is only second to China in terms of confirmed cases and deaths.
No events in the United States have been postponed yet and the World Series of Poker is adamant its "schedule is intact." Should that change, you'll be the first to know.
Stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you all the breaking news regarding live events near you.