Citing “an abundance of caution,” officials with the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, FL, have postponed the remainder of their World Series of Poker Circuit stop as of today. This will cause the postponement of six of the 13 ring events being held by the casino, including the $1500 Main Event that would have begun over this weekend.
First Major Tournament Postponement – More to Come?
The simple announcement on the Bike’s website said it all. “After careful consideration and to prevent any further spread or transmission of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak throughout the country, The Bicycle Hotel & Casino has decided to postpone the remainder of our WSOPC tournament, effective Friday, March 13, 2020,” the notice began. “This decision was made out of an abundance of caution and to protect the well-being of our customers and employees. Please be assured our team is monitoring the situation closely and we look forward to announcing a future date soon.”
A view of the WSOP Live Reporting site shows that there are no updates for the event which was supposed to begin this afternoon, the $1000 No Limit Hold’em event. The last tournament concluded on the Bike’s WSOPC schedule was the $400 No Limit event, won by Yoshi Kaji on Thursday night.
Daniel Negreanu, Other Poker Pros Call for Temporary Closure of Poker Rooms
The discussion in the poker community has ranged between calls for poker rooms to be closed to some questionable people suggesting that the COVID-19 situation is much ado about nothing. In a Tweet, Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu made it clear where he stood on the issue:
Several players responded in the affirmative with Negreanu. “Thank you, Daniel,” Dutch Boyd responded to Negreanu’s Tweet. “I really hope @WSOPTD (WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel) is listening.” Max Pescatori and Bill Perkins joined in support of Negreanu, but there was also a great deal of blowback.
Many brought up how shutting down a poker room – or a casino in general – would hurt the employees of the casino and, in the case of the poker room, the dealers, floor and chip runners who help facilitate the game. Some of those responding to Negreanu did so with particular vitriol. Negreanu observed, “Social media can sometimes represent the worst of us. I’ve taken my fair share of online hate for things I’ve said, but even I’m surprised by some of the hateful tweets I’ve received for suggesting that we take drastic measures to slow Covid-19. Wow, Just wow…”
Worldwide Shutdown of Sporting Events
The world of sports has basically shut down in just the last 24 hours. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, sitting in with TNT’s NBA pregame show (a pregame for no games that would be played) indicated that the shutdown of his league would last for at least 30 days. The Extreme Football League (XFL), the fledgling league started by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) honcho Vince McMahon, shuttered the remainder of their regular season effective Thursday (the season was six weeks old). Auto racing has been stopped in its tracks, with the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg canceled on Friday and NASCAR canceling their next two events in Atlanta and Homestead, FL. Even golf has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, with the “fifth major” of The Players’ Championship stopped one round into play on Friday and arguably the marquee event of golf, The Masters, being postponed until later in the year.
The actions by sports leagues worldwide is in direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 145,000 people have been infected by the virus, with more than 5400 people dying from the disease. In the States of America, there have been 2269 confirmed cases, with 48 fatalities from those infected. Only on Friday has the States of America decided to increase their testing, which has been woefully inadequate to this point.
UPDATE AS OF FRIDAY EVENING
According to information released this evening from Caesars Entertainment spokesman Seth Palansky, the following WSOPC events have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (in addition to the stoppage of the event at the Bicycle Casino):
Harrah’s Atlantic City (New Jersey) – The current stop at Harrah’s AC (March 5-16) has been suspended. The event is expected to resume where it left off when an appropriate time window has been determined.
Bally’s Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada) – The stop scheduled for March 19-30, has been postponed indefinitely. Should new dates be established, they will be announced.
King’s Resort (Rozvadov, Czech Republic) – The current stop (March 5-23) has been suspended. The event is expected to resume where it left off when an appropriate time window has been determined.
Bicycle Hotel & Casino (Los Angeles) – The current stop (March 7-18) has been suspended. The event is expected to resume where it left off when an appropriate time window has been determined.
Hard Rock Tulsa (Oklahoma) – The circuit is currently in progress.
Harrah’s Cherokee (North Carolina) — (April 8-20) The stop scheduled for April 8-20 has been postponed indefinitely. Should new dates be established, they will be announced.
asino Barriere Le Croisette (Cannes, France) – The stop scheduled for April 9-19 has been postponed indefinitely. Should new dates be established, they will be announced.
Currently the WSOP, set to begin on May 27, is still scheduled to open, but Caesars officials are “monitoring the situation,” according to Palansky.