Paul Phua has a plan to ensure players at May’s Triton Super High Roller Series in Montenegro are safe. The high roller who co-founded the Triton brand said in a video that all players will be tested for coronavirus.
The recent Triton series in Jeju was canceled due to the coronavirus. The 12-tournament high-roller series was the first poker event victim of COVID-19.
Many other tournaments have since been canceled in fear of the virus, including WPT Deepstacks events in Amsterdam and Maryland. But Phua, for the time being, expects his May series in Montenegro to run as planned. Still, he laid out precautionary measures his staff will take to ensure player safety at the event.
Phua Proposes Coronavirus Testing
Phua has been a regular on the high-roller scene in Asia for many years. The once accused — but found innocent — bookmaker wants to continue playing poker during the coronavirus pandemic. But in an interview with PartypokerTV, he said players at the upcoming Triton Montenegro series must pass a coronavirus test before they can take a seat at the table.
Phua said in the video there isn’t a guarantee the Triton series will run, but gave it a 50/50 chance. He said the lower field size compared to other tournaments, such as WSOP bracelet events, give him confidence. Most super high-roller tournaments have 25-50 players.
“I think there’s a good chance for our high-roller tournaments,” he said. “It’s a small pool of players. We plan to buy a lot of test kits to test all players coming in before they play the tournament, before they enter the tournament area or the hotel.”
Phua also said there are some coronavirus test kits available in China that provide results within 30 minutes that will be used.
Phua on Possible WSOP Cancellation
Phua isn’t a WSOP bracelet hunter and has never cashed in a World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas, but he made a prediction on the fate of the 2020 WSOP.
“For me, I predict the big tournaments, next month and in May, next month will be EPT Monaco I think it will be canceled,” he stated in the above video. “And I think there’s more than a 50% chance of the WSOP to be canceled this summer. That’s my prediction because the virus is spreading outside of China.”
Phua predicts it will be three to four months before the coronavirus pandemic improves globally. That’s the same time frame as many others have predicted, although some health experts fear it could last well beyond summer.
The Rio convention center will open its doors to poker players on May 26, with the first bracelet events scheduled for May 27. The 2020 WSOP schedule features 101 events, 14 of which will be played online at WSOP.com. Some poker players expect either a complete series cancellation or for the WSOP to be played exclusively online.