PokerStars have taken the predictable step of cancelling three tournaments that were approaching in mainland Europe in the coming weeks and months. With cities in Germany, France and Spain all affected, the poker giant was quick to allay any fears fans and players might have about refunds or transfers and were clear about exactly when the planned events will be postponed until.
Here’s how the news was broken:
“With many PokerStars-sponsored live events upcoming around the world, we wanted to take a moment to let our players know our current position regarding the coronavirus.
We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID 19 and working with the casinos operating the events we sponsor to ensure we are being kept up to speed with all the latest developments.
As such, it is with a heavy heart that the decision has been made, in conjunction with each casino partner, to postpone all European events up until April 10, 2020.”
The reaction from poker players and fans was perhaps predictably negative, especially given how close some of the events are, and social media isn’t the best forum for a balanced collection of reactions at times.
Due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, we have taken the decision to postpone all European events up until April 10, 2020.
Full update: https://t.co/RsM2RP3G8S
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) March 8, 2020
The affected tournaments are the Road to PSPC events that were due to take place in Hamburg, Germany, at La Grand Motte Casino near Montpellier in France and in the Spanish capital of Madrid at the Gran Via Casino.
Thankfully, PokerStars have also notified their players that anyone who had already won a package to those stops will be contacted imminently – apparently within 24 hours – so that they can transfer their seat to a different tournament at some point in the future.
With other PokerStars events planned outside of Europe, plenty of ‘Stars festivals are completely unaffected. Those include the Okada Millions that takes place in Manila, the Brazilian Series of Poker in São Paulo and the European Poker Tour festival in the Russian former Olympic city of Sochi.
PokerStars have promised to check poker cleaning equipment, stock hand sanitizers and even make sure that the cards are kept clean at regular intervals. They do, however, say to any players that if they want to contact PokerStars because they feel ‘uncomfortable about attending our events’ they can email ‘Stars at [email protected].
With the spread of COVID-19 as yet something hard to gauge, it could be that other poker brands will be forced to follow suit. Either way, you can read the full PokerStars press release on the matter right here.