We are all about regular poker. But the culling of the Texas Hold’em video poker game in China is definitely to be rued and even though it doesn’t affect the big tournaments at all, it’s still a loss for the poker community. Tencent Holdings’ iconic game had come under the blows of the Chinese government and subsided.
Texas Hold’em is No More in China
Developed by Tencent Holdings, the popular Texas Hold’em video game iteration of poker is no longer to be offered to Chinese customers in the country’s land-based or online venues. With the latest decision of the government to dismantle the server, the remainders of the software will be scrapped on September 24, with users getting various compensations as mandated by the Ministry of Culture regulations.
The behemoth Tencent operates from Shenzhen and it’s involved in various gaming initiatives, including iGaming, which generates the bulk of its proceedings. The company also has strong ties in the video game industry where it has been making investment worth billions of US dollars.
Despite the steady investment it has been conducting, Tencent still saw $20 billion of its value slump as a direct result from China’s decision to hit online gaming based on what the government explained to be “rising levels of myopia.”
The latest developments have also bitten into the quarterly profits of the company, which has been reporting better results for 13 uninterrupted years so far. Tencent’s forays in online gaming started about the same time, 13 years ago. Now, though, Tencent has to handle other competitors, including WeChat, which has reached one billion users on its own.
Tencent’s Big Bluff
Of course, Tencent doesn’t rely on poker and iGaming activities to succeed, but it’s certainly one of its core products, which has never come under legal fire. The company has known predicaments before, with the Chinese government sanctioning certain products the company had developed but could never release because of non-compliance with party censorship rules.
Gaming in the form of poker has been long under the blows of Chinese government who have found the activity to be against the grain of socialist value, an argument that has been used on multiple occasions by the party to phase out or outright ban a multitude of products and services.
Hitting poker is not unexpected, though, given the hardline stance the Chinese government has shown on any betting and gambling product. While Macau has turned into a hotspot for people with such proclivities, the main land still remains a place where only a select few venues operate and that, under the strict oversight of government regulators.
Back in April, the government banned online poker, inflicting another blow on all operators who have been running their apps and developing tournament networks across the country. However, the ban nipped all of these initiatives in the bud. The effects may have had effects on the industry beyond Asia, too, experts estimate.
What future poker may have in China is unclear, but there are still plenty of alternatives in the region.