Poker

52nd Annual World Series Of Poker Kicks Off In Las Vegas After 800 Day Hiatus


There are new rules and procedures in place, and the temperature outside is about 30 degrees cooler than usual, but the World Series of Poker has officially returned to Las Vegas after a hiatus of more than 800 days.

It was July of 2019 when Germany’s Hossein Ensan closed out the 50th annual summer series with a $10 million main event win. The 2020 festival promised to be even bigger, but the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to live poker around the world and forced the WSOP online.

In fact, it was only the final tablists of the main event who got to play cards in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino last year, with Argentina’s Damian Salas coming away with a combined $2,550,969 after topping the international online field and domestic winner Joseph Hebert.

Normally held around June and July, the 2021 series was pushed to the fall. A total of 88 events are scheduled to award bracelets between Sept. 30 and Nov. 23.

The WSOP main event will have four starting flights to choose from between Nov. 4-7. The final table is currently slated for Tuesday, Nov.16 and Wednesday, Nov. 17.

“We’ve spent the last 26 months dreaming of the return of the WSOP live and in-person to the Rio, and it feels incredible to say, today is that day,” said Senior Vice President of the World Series of Poker, Ty Stewart.

“There is nothing like the WSOP live with each day making history— from the unforgettable wins to the overwhelming upsets — it’s an unmatched experience. We are incredibly appreciative of those who have traveled near and far to be back in Las Vegas with us, as well as our Team Members and partners considering it takes a huge village to pull this event off.”

Thursday saw the traditional $500 Casino Employees event kick off the series, and although there were the usual lines of players in the Rio hallway, this time the congestion was due to the new vaccine-mandate policy rather than registration delays.

Less than five weeks from the start of the series, tournament organizers surprised many by announcing the mandate for anyone wishing to play. Proof of vaccination, using a mobile health pass app, is required to participate in any bracelet event, deep stack tournament, satellite, or cash game. The policy applies to everyone involved with the event, including staff, media, vendors, and spectators.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly-it is made with no agenda beyond protecting player eligibility and the operations of a unique televised gaming event,” said Stewart. “The nature of poker is to be in close proximity with your opponents for extended periods of time and a seat at the WSOP is a commitment for both our company and the participants. We want players to be excited for their return to the WSOP, while offering the greatest level of protection and limiting complications during the tournament this fall.”

By complying with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 050 for vaccinated events, players will be allowed to take their masks off while they are seated at the tables.

We can only guess as to how the mandate will affect attendance. The numbers were already going to be lower than usual due to the fact that the series is taking place in the fall. Additionally, many international players will still have trouble getting to Las Vegas with various restrictions in place on travel.

According to the CDC, approximately 67% of eligible adult Americans are fully vaccinated and 77% have received at least one dose.

To stay informed on the latest from the WSOP, check out Card Player’s series landing page complete with event results, recaps, and winner interviews.

 

 

 





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