World Poker Tour event in Hanoi cancelled, becomes third major Vietnam poker series scrapped since December

Image courtesy of World Poker Tour

A World Poker Tour event scheduled to start today in Hanoi, Vietnam, has been cancelled amid reports it did not have the necessary government approvals. It is the third major tournament series in Vietnam to be either cancelled completely or cut short in the past six months.

Crown Poker Club in Hanoi, the planned venue for the WPT Vietnam Passport to the World Championship 2024, announced via social media on Monday that the series, due to run from 14 to 27 May, had been cancelled “for technical reasons and with the best intentions for all athletes.”

“Crown Poker Club regrets this inconvenience,” it wrote. “This is truly a difficult decision because, throughout its operation, Crown Poker Club has always prioritized safety and improving tournament quality first.

“Therefore, Crown Poker Club hopes for the sharing and sympathy of our partners, customers, and all players.”

A report by local Vietnamese-language media outlet Dan Tri said it was ordered by the Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, Tran Sy Thanh, after requesting the Hanoi Department of Culture and Information along with the City Police to check if the correct procedures had been followed in organizing the series.

More specifically, the report suggests the series had not received necessary approvals from the Hanoi Department of Culture, with authorities ordered to “strictly handle” those involved if there is evidence of “disguised gambling” being organized.

WPT Vietnam Passport to the World Championship had been scheduled to include 63 trophy events, with more than US$2 million in guarantees and 10 packages to be awarded to the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas in December.

This is not the first time a major series has run into hurdles in recent times.

In December, the Asian Poker Tour cancelled the last two days of the APT Hanoi Billions amid allegations the series was being held in breach of local gambling laws.

An Asian Poker Festival series due to be held at Royal Poker Club in Hanoi in partnership with Top Joy Poker Tour was cancelled in April among very similar circumstances.

Hanoi’s Crown Poker Club was also involved in a controversy in March after players raised concerns over a 10% “tax” the local operator had been charging players on all winnings above VND10 million (US$403).

It later emerged that no such tax existed and Crown Poker Club had been charging the fee to assist with paying its own costs. The organization issued a statement in late March confirming that the U Series of Poker Danang series, which ran from 19 March to 1 April, would be the last in which it applied the 10% fee.

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