Coronavirus Update: PokerStars Cancels European Events, Confirms EPT Sochi
The upcoming leg of the European Poker Tour in Sochi will play as planned, explained PokerStars on an official update released on March 8.
The 10-day poker festival kicks off at Casino Sochi on March 20 bringing to Russia an action-packed schedule highlighted by a RUB 122,300,000 (USD 1,631,482) guarantee.
The 2020 Sochi EPT is one of the three events in PokerStars' live tournament schedule to survive the coronavirus global emergency, as all PokerStars European events have now been postponed.
"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," states a note published by PokerStars on Sunday.
"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 events affected by the decision to pause PokerStars' live operations in Europe are:
- Road to PSPC – Hamburg, Germany
- Road to PSPC – La Grand Motte, France
- Road to PSPC – Madrid Gran Via, Spain
"The situation is highly dynamic and live tournaments are a big part of what we do," the note continues. "So we are endeavouring to strike a balance of catering to our players’ wants while also protecting attendees, and ensuring we act responsibly.
"We are reviewing every event on a case by case basis, and keeping up to speed on the latest developments alongside our casino partners."
2020 EPT Sochi Confirmed
As of today, the decision to put the live tournament calendar on hold in light of the coronavirus outbreak concerns only the European side of PokerStars-sponsored live events.
As the note explains, nothing changes for the other ones in the calendar, including the 2020 EPT Sochi in Russia, the Okada Manila Millions in the Philippines, and the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) in São Paulo, Brazil.
To confirm these events, PokerStars has been working closely with the casinos "to ensure extra precautionary steps are implemented."
In this sense, all poker equipment will be sanitized daily, card decks will be changed regularly, and hand sanitizer will be available in the venues.
How Does It Affect You?
PokerStars announced they intend to work with players to minimise the discomfort that might follow their decision to cancel all European events until April 10.
As representatives from the poker site announced, all the players who had already qualified for any of the three events no longer on the schedule will be contacted individually.
"Any player who has qualified online at PokerStars to the above events will be contacted in the next 24 hours for assistance with the transferal of seats to a future tournament."
The company has prepared a plan also for those who no longer want to participate in the events still on the schedule.
"We want players to have full flexibility in deciding what they want to do, so if any player feels uncomfortable about attending our events, they can contact us at [email protected]"
The Stars Group is a majority shareholder in Oddschecker Global Media.