March 13 was the scheduled starting day for one big live poker tournament, The Golden Poker Million Marrakech, an event that takes place annually in Casino de Marrakesh in the Es Saadi Resort in Morocco. But not in this year.
Golden Poker Million Marrakesh
2 days ago, a statement released by the direction of the Casino de Marrakesh, informed all interested parties that the event was cancelled due to imposed restrictions from the government in Morocco, in line with a set of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus infection.
All events for the whole month of March that have participants from abroad have been prohibited, and the casino was left with no other choice but to comply by withdrawing its event from the poker calendar.
Other Events Taken Off the Calendar
The Golden Poker Million Marrakesh is the latest poker event to fall victim of the virus outbreak recently, as a series of cancellations of events has taken place, with some high-profile ones, the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, Siege of Malta and the Triton Super High Roller Series in Jeju, also on the list.
The WPT Barcelona festival, scheduled to start March 22 in Casino Barcelona has been confirmed as the World Poker Tour released a statement of its own regarding growing threats from the virus spread. The event will continue as planned but the guaranteed prizes have been removed as the hosts expect lower number of participants due to the increased virus concerns.
It is still unclear whether the biggest event of the year, the WSOP, will be affected by the continuing global spread of the virus, despite the latest announcement by WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications, Seth Palansky, that they were closely monitoring the situation, with all scheduled events still on as planned.
Since that announcement, first cases of the virus have been found in Nevada, even in close proximity to the stage of the event, the hosting Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and speculations from players and fans began mounting, as the global spread of the coronavirus can potentially affect any event due to many of its participants coming from different parts of the planet.
Some professional poker players began accepting bets on Twitter on the likelihood of the WSOP being cancelled, stirring up social media unrest within the poker community as to the exact potential of the impact on the entire poker industry a WSOP cancellation would have.
However, the fact that Vegas-based series such as the Wynn Spring Classic remain unaffected and continue as planned, gives hope that the biggest event of the year that gathers hundreds of thousands of players in Nevada, the WSOP, will survive.