Korea was scheduled to host two major poker tours, the World Poker Tour (WPT) National Korea and the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Daegu 2017 this month, but both have been cancelled because of military tension between China and the USA occurring close to the venue of both poker events.
APT press announced the cancellation of the event through a small post on their official website stating “It is with great sadness and disappointment that APT Daegu 2017, which is supposed to run from March 22 to 30 is being cancelled due to the abrupt government-imposed closure of the Daegu Casino from March 10, 2017 to April 10, 2017. The Asian Poker Tour is currently working on moving the said event to another venue in South Korea. Further details will be posted on the APT website and our official Facebook page as soon as available.”
The WPT National set to run from March 17 to 21 was shelved keeping in mind player safety, considering the stress build-up in the area. Unlike the APT, the WPT issued a notice explaining the cancellation stating –
“Due to factors beyond our control, the World Poker Tour (WPT) today announced the cancellation of WPT National Korea scheduled for March 17-21, 2017, at Paradise Casino at Jeju Grand. As you may be aware, several major airline carriers have suspended air travel in the region. In the best interest of our players, the event will no longer be taking place.
According to CardPlayer, the problem escalated after Lotte, a South Korean multinational conglomerate offered land to the US army for a missile defence system termed as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD) in deference to present US President Donald Trump’s directives.
The US army assured China that the move was simply a just precautionary measure against North Korea, but China did not take too kindly to the proximity of military weapons in the ‘red zone’ area.
In retaliation, the eastern giant has limited more than 50 Lotte retail stores in China, along with issuing bans on airlines and cruise ship package holidays. According to Goldman Sachs this is expected to cost the Chinese tourist industry upwards of $5 billion. But then again, the Chinese government has not been favouring the gambling industry, since the Premier sought to curb the Macau junkets, bringing all such activities to an immediate halt.
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Professional poker players from around the globe have already begun preparations for the 49th annual World Series of Poker.