Whether or not you believe in the severity of coronavirus, it's here and not going anywhere for a while. We should've known it was coming but it's too late now. As the pandemic has shuttered pro sports leagues across the globe, including the NBA, NHL, and MLS, and cancelled basketball tournaments leading up to March Madness, many casinos and poker rooms remain open during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as the number of cases continue to rise as more people are getting tested. The coronavirus has already infected actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, along with two NBA players from the Utah Jazz (Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell), plus Juventus football player Daniele Rugani.
Earlier this week, PokerStars announced they were suspending all events through April 10. However, three of their Road to PSPC events were cancelled. That included Hamburg, La Grand Motte, and Madrid Gran Via.
According to Severin Rassert, "The situation is highly dynamic and live tournaments are a big part of what we do. 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."
Kid Poker is one of the most popular poker players on the planet. He has a large platform and he's not afraid to use social media to share his controversial views and opinions with the poker world. Most recently, Negreanu tweeted out, "All poker operators: stop. Suspend all tournaments and cash games now. There isn't a more infectious environment imaginable than a poker table. Shut it all down."
If you've ever been to a poker room, you know it can be dingy and dirty and seedy. And don't get me started about the players. I had never been a germfreak until I moved to Las Vegas and spent a significant time in casinos. I used to carry around hand sanitizer everywhere I went and used it when I played a lot of poker. You'd be surprised how infrequently casinos cleaned chips and the low numbers of players who washed their hands after using the lavatory.
Yes, casinos can be filthy places and petri dishes for nasty viral things like Legionnaire's Disease. The last place I'd want to get caught during a pandemic is on a cruise ship, air plane, or casino. Online gambling is the way to go during the crazy times.
KidPoker is no longer the pitchman for PokerStars, but he's the new pitchman for GGPoker. Maybe he can ride the pandemic wave to help gather more support for online poker legalization in the USA. Besides, what the heck are we going to do while holed up? Online poker seems like a great way to ride out the pandemic.
Maybe the coronavirus will finally persuade Sheldon Adelson to change his hardliner stance on online poker and online gambling. Between the raw data from Macau (experienced a 87% drop during the first weeks of coronavirus) and vocal popular pros like Negreanu calling for the shuttering of poker rooms, it would be wise to legalize online gambling, especially online poker.
Without sports to gamble on, there's no sports betting revenue coming in from many other verticals. So maybe online poker will get a huge boost after all?
Stay safe, wash your hands, and try not to sneeze on the chips, bruh.
All poker operators: stop.— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) March 12, 2020
Suspend all tournaments and cash games now.
There isn’t a more infectious environment imaginable than a poker table.
Shut it all down.