Coronavirus Spread Leads to Maltese Tournament Cancellations; WSOP Monitoring The Situation

As the high rollers breeze into Sochi, Russia for a spot of snowboarding and high stakes gambling, the rest of the poker community is not faring as well.

Casino Malta by Olympic Casino has cancelled ‘The Siege of Malta.’ The festival would have taken place April 15 – 20, with a €450 buy-in, €500k GTD Main Event now left swinging in the breeze. The Malta Poker Championships due to take place in May live from the Portomaso Casino in St Julians is also dead in the water.

October’s Battle of Malta remains unaffected.

The continued spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the culprit, and it’s not only poker tournaments in Malta that are affected. The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in Jeju became the first to cancel an event because of the spread of COVID-19. And the World Poker Tour (WPT) cancelled events in Vietnam and Taiwan.

The King’s Casino in Rozvadov removed some events from their calendar along with a formal ban issued against Italians from playing at the casino or staying at the hotel. Czech health authorities declared that two out of five people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Czech Republic had previously visited Italy.

King’s have targeted the Italians because as from March 5, the land of the boot has the second-highest fatality rate (107), and third-highest casualty rate (3,089). Triton cancelled their Jeju event because South Korea has the fourth-highest fatality rate (35), and second-highest casualty rate (5,766).

World Series of Poker

The world of sport and gaming will suffer as a result of the outbreak. Dark clouds hover over the Tokyo Olympics and Euro 2020, the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing have been cancelled, the Winter X-Games in China has been postponed, and the 2020 League of Legends LPL Spring tournament has also gone the same way.

What then, The World Series of Poker (WSOP)?

According to a quote from Seth Palansky that popped up in a PokerNews article, the WSOP is still on course to hand out 61 bracelets in the summer, while still ‘monitoring the situation’, and leaning on ‘experts in this field for guidance.’

Even if the event goes ahead, with people due to fly in from all over the globe, and the ever-pressing fear of ‘large gatherings’ of people, then attendance figures could drop for the first time in years.

Coronavirus in the USA

Congress recently approved $8.3 billion in emergency aid to fight the Coronavirus after 159 people in the US became afflicted with 11 deaths (almost exclusively in the Seattle area). At the time of writing, California has received its first death, with a cruise ship quarantined off the Californian coast.

Coronavirus Casualty and fatality Rate as Per March 5

95,315 cases.

3,282 fatalities.


China – 3,014
Italy – 107
Iran – 92
Korea – 35
USA – 11

Confirmed Cases

China – 80,524
Korea – 5,766
Italy – 3,089
Iran – 2,922
Japan – 317
France – 285
Germany – 262
Spain – 200
USA – 159

Ironically, subscriptions to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History went through the roof, as people fearing a third World War began creating contingency plans, when all along, we should have been fearing a pandemic.

Sorry, Dan, it’s time for us to stop listening to tales of blood and guts, and instead find more information on what to do when our throat runs dry, and violent gurgulations of the stomach starts waking up the cat.

The bell is ringing.

We haven’t even finished Round 1, and Coronavirus is giving the poker industry and the world at large a right good kick-in.