The coronavirus pandemic that hit the entire world hard in 2020 has left its trace on many businesses and industries as a whole. Live casinos, including live poker rooms, have not been spared, either.
From shutting down the most popular live venues across the US and Europe to moving the World Series of Poker fully to the online environment for the first time in its 50-year long history, it has been a rough year for live poker.
One Asian country seems to be on the comeback trail, though. The systematic approach to battling the epidemic has proven very successful in the country, allowing many activities to slowly return to their normal state, live poker being one of them.
The Corona Poker Resort First to Offer Live Cash Games
In the middle of the crisis, while many neighboring countries were still struggling to get the situation under control, Vietnam managed to get back on track.
In fact, in July 2020, the Corona Resort located on the island of Phu Quoc opened its doors to visitors. Offering all sorts of services, the resort also includes LUK poker room.
Featuring 10 poker tables, the room is the first in the country to offer legal cash games in the live setting, allowing Vietnamese players to test their skills and luck in a setting different from the one provided by online venues such as GemparQQ.
Already in June, the new room hosted its very first live tournament series. Taking place over six days, the Corona Poker Championship featured seven distinct events. Buy-ins covered a fairly wide range, from VND 6.6 million (around $270) to VND 220 billion ($10,000).
Although the turnout was not as good as it would have likely been in more normal circumstances, the Main Event still attracted 153 entries, posting a buy-in of VND 16.5 million each. This was enough to shatter the guaranteed prize pool of two billion (around $86,000).
It was local player Tran Huy Tien who walked away the winner, pocketing over $27,000 for his efforts. The runner-up, Nguyen Tien Dung, took home $17,000.
Vietnam Series of Poker a Sign of Good Things to Come
Another major live event took place in the country. Hosted from November 14 – 22, the Vietnam Series of Poker Championship II played out at Hanoi’s Grand Loyal Poker Club.
The 9-day series managed to post a new record, collecting the total prize pool in excess of VND 16 billion ($650,000).
The Kick Off event set the stage as the guaranteed prize pool of VND 1.5 billion was easily exceeded thanks to 327 entries worth 5.5 million each.
The highlight of the series was the VSOP Main Event, which attracted 449 entries. The tournament took place over four days, and when it was all said and done it was Hoang Ngoc Tai taking home the win and the first place money of over $44,000.
It seems that Vietnam has found the best way to get through the rough patch. Live games continued to thrive in the country even during the worst of it, and things are likely to get better in the foreseeable future.
The end of the Covid-19 crisis seems to be on the horizon, which should live poker bounce back all over Asia and on the global scale.
As for Vietnam, one would expect the turnout for any future events to be even better as the poker community in the country continues to grow and develop.