2021 Deaf Poker Australia Championship series cancelled

For the second year in a row, Deaf Poker Australia (DPA) has been forced to cancel their flagship national carnival at the Poker Palace in Sydney due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Originally scheduled for October 28-31, the DPA Championship – the largest poker event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – was touted as potentially the biggest series in the not-for-profit organisation’s 13-year history.

In a video press release posted on their Facebook page today, organisers acknowledged that uncertainty around the latest COVID outbreak, particularly throughout the state of New South Wales, was a major factor in the decision-making process.

DPA video press release (Auslan, CC – no sound)

DPA Live Events Specialist Landon Blackhall stressed that the health and safety of the Deaf community remained DPA’s highest priority.

“The decision to call off the DPA Championship again is absolutely devastating for all of us,” he said, “but it was a call that had to be made sooner rather than later and we’ve received full support from Poker Palace management, who are still keen to work with us in the future.”

“As we’ve seen over the last 18 months, the pandemic has presented huge logistical challenges for all major events across the planet.  Even with all options on the table, including the possibility of rescheduling or relocating the series, [the DPA Board of Directors] soon realised that it was just not viable.”

Established in 2008, DPA is regarded as the de facto national body for the game amongst the Australian Deaf community, making great strides in providing an equal platform for its player base through its series of exclusive events throughout the country, with support from many major poker operators, card rooms and casinos.

DPA made international headlines in 2019 after the controversy surrounding the eligibility of then Main Event Champion Chris Smitton, who despite being given the all-clear after providing proof of hearing loss, was subject to the court of public opinion with some arguing that his win was invalid, even though anti-discrimination exemptions do not apply in poker.

DPA has since gone to great lengths to improve their rules and regulations and continues to promote Deaf Awareness and equality through a separate series of tournaments dubbed the Auslan Poker Open, which have been well received by all members of the poker community.

DISCLOSURE: PMA’s Head of Content Landon Blackhall has voluntarily served on the DPA Board of Directors as their Live Events Specialist since 2009.

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