Poker events cancelled and casinos prepare as Hurricane Irma tears through Caribbean

  • Category 5 Hurricane Irma tears its way across the Caribbean towards Florida
  • Poker events cancelled and Florida casinos preparing to be hit by storm

The damage caused by Hurricane Irma in the US and Caribbean has been extensive with at least 10 people dead and entire islands such as Barbuda virtually flattened.

hurricane irma
Photo: NOAA

The most potent storm to hit the Atlantic in a decade has included winds of 180mph. While the human toll is the most serious aspect to the natural disaster, when the winds have dropped and the dust settled, the economic damage to the region will also need to be calculated.

Poker at sea

Casinos and poker rooms are among those affected, both in terms of damage sustained and revenue lost. It has been reported that one group of poker players were forced to put their seafaring plans on hold after Hurricane Irma got up to speed.

The team, who had been planning to sail on Bill Perkins’ yacht whilst streaming their WCOOP game, had to beat a sharp retreat from the Caribbean.

Poker players Jaime and Matt Staples vlogged their experience which culminated in the pair being evacuated to New York. Jeff Gross and Kevin Martin were also forced to abandon their plans to stream live from Perkins’ yacht, which has been dubbed the “Streamboat”.

Florida casinos preparing

In mainland USA, Hurricane Irma has already left its mark, with one Florida poker event having to be cancelled due to the inclement weather.

The WPT Deepstacks event was scheduled to take place in Immokalee’s Seminole Casino Hotel from 1st to 10th September, but the Florida tournament was abandoned due to fears over hurricane winds.

Elsewhere, Florida’s Gulfstream Park has cancelled its horse racing. The Stronach Group, which owns the casino and racing facility, has said it is monitoring the storm but anticipates that the casino should remain open for now. Horse racing is definitely off until at least next Wednesday however, as operators wait for the winds to abate.

While it is the East Coast of the US and the Caribbean that has been feeling the brunt of the weather this week, casinos across the world are not immune to the effects of mother nature.

Ten days ago, a number of Macau casinos were forced to close after a typhoon rolled into town, causing damage to the region estimated at $1.87 billion. At the time, Macau weather chiefs came under flak for allegedly playing down the severity of the typhoon out of a desire to preserve the casino trade which is a major economic driver in the Chinese province.

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