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Is PokerStars leaving China?

Author: Vargoso Published: 02.09.20

Despite the total ban on gambling in the country, the Chinese poker market remains one of the most promising. Yesterday, it was reported that from September 1, 2020, PokerStars will be leaving China, Taiwan, and Macau. What is the situation, and what should players expect from today?

Is PokerStars leaving China?

Goodbye letters from PokerStars to Chinese players

So far, the only source for this news is a topic on the 2+2 poker forum in which a player from China posted a screenshot of an email sent by the PokerStars support service. 

The most important thing is included in the heading.

PokerStars Leaves China

"Please be informed that as of September 1 we'll be exiting China, Taiwan, and Macau."

After that, the player was informed about the measures to withdraw his current balance.

No other official PokerStars source have commented on this yet, which is strange since the leaving day is already here. Also, for some reason, this email is written in English and not Chinese.

Reactions from the poker media and community

On 2+2, the topic of PokerStars exit didn't become a trending discussion, but the news spread widely on social networks and poker media sites.

For example, Patrick Leonard wrote on his Twitter:

Patrick Leonard PokerStars China

Some people said that it's better to wait for an official statement from the room, but almost all sites jumped to the same conclusion following a chain of events:

  1. China is actively fighting online gambling: transactions are being blocked, there is a blacklist of sites, and a portal has been created to receive complaints about participants in such games.
  2. Flutter Entertainment, PokerStars' parent company, announced that it would leave several gray markets in 2020, mainly to avoid legal issues in the United States.
  3. A week after the Flutter Entertainment report, news of PokerStars pulling out of China was known.

Everything fits together and seems logical and coherent...right?

PokerStars going nowhere?

But, there are several nuances in this case that led us to strongly doubt the accuracy of such a straightforward approach. In fact, the Chinese authorities are against online poker, and the PokerStars' parent company wants to dabble into the US market and is willing to sacrifice some operations and profits.

However, in such profitable markets like China, gaming companies work hard to find turnarounds to launder their operation, but at the same time, not leaving such a promising market. And in the case of China, such an exit is already available and used by the room.

PokerStars.COM, and .EU will exit China (the email came from the last one), but the room has two alternatives:

  1. Red Dragon Poker, a mobile app that has been in operation for a year and a half;
  2. 6up, a Chinese site with access to the global pool.

Technically, those sites are not legally tied to PokerStars, and any possible legal issue won't affect the main site. This conclusion is indirectly confirmed by today's monitoring the in the room lobby — the Chinese flags in cash games have not disappeared:

PokerStars Lobby China

PokerStars is closing access to Chinese players via its global domains but will continue to accept them through its affiliated sites Red Dragon Poker and 6up. 

If you want to play against Chinese players, GGPoker and club-based apps are the best options nowadays. Reach our team to take advantage of our affiliate service:

  • Private promotions and tournament tickets on our Telegram channel;
  • Professional customer service seven days a week.

Telegram: @alexey_wpd

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