To Play Poker in a Pandemic, Americans Flee the U.S.

As a results of the shutdown, most worldwide on-line poker websites stopped letting folks from the United States use their websites.

So, in August, when the world collection moved from to a web site referred to as GGPoker, gamers who remained in the United States had been out of luck, significantly as a result of the most profitable occasions had been scheduled for then, together with the “Main Event,” which, for a mere $5,000 entry charge, provided a probability at a $three.9 million first-place prize. (The in-person model of the event final yr had greater than double the prize pool and a high prize of $10 million, and the entry charge was $10,000.)

“Given travel restrictions to and from the U.S.A., it would have been impossible to achieve international participation, even online through, without a licensed third-party to serve these customers in their home market,” the W.S.O.P.’s Stewart mentioned.

It would even have been a far smaller occasion had it remained in the United States.

GGPoker, which launched in 2017, relies in Canada and Ireland with playing licenses in the United Kingdom, Malta and Curacao. It paid W.S.O.P. a licensing charge to host the event. As of mid-August, over 170,000 folks, have performed in the worldwide occasions.

Konnikova is just not one in every of them as a result of she refused to get on a aircraft for worry of the coronavirus.

“I wanted to drive to Canada,” Konnikova mentioned. “If the border had been open, we would have gone.”

Canada, together with many different nations, wasn’t admitting Americans due to the U.S.’s surging variety of coronavirus circumstances. Some elements of Mexico had been letting Americans in however solely by aircraft, not by automotive. Many of the sport’s most well-known gamers, akin to Negreanu, Phil Helmuth, Maria Ho, and poker vlogger Brad Owen, obtained on planes sure for Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Negreanu, who’s a Canadian citizen, may have gone to Canada, however he and his spouse most popular to be on a seashore so that they chartered a personal aircraft from Las Vegas to Cabo, as a result of it appeared like the most secure and nicest possibility in Mexico. “We looked at the Covid numbers and Cabo was by far the least affected,” he mentioned.

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