After much confusion about what the COVID-19 rules are for media, players, spectators, & tournament staff, the WSOP has announced in a press release that all attendees at the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas will be required to show show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
Edit (31st August 2021): and in a U-Turn, the WSOP announced that dealers and staff will not be required to prove vaccination, but are rather “strongly encouraged” to vaccinate. A shortage of dealers who are vaccinated is likely the root cause of this move.
The WSOP unveiled Rule 115 earlier this month, which enables tournament organizers to eject any player from the tournament without compensation if they are suspected of being in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Last week, the WSOP clarified the rule, stating that those who have been vaccinated would not be removed.
“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” – WSOP executive director Ty Stewart
The reaction from the poker community has been mixed, with some people applauding the news, and others quite unhappy with the rules, and vowing not to attend.
WSOP 2021 – 88 Events
The WSOP is returning to a live, in-person format at the Rio, Las Vegas from September 30th – Nov. 23 having been canceled last year because of the global health pandemic.
The series this year has 88 bracelet events scheduled, including plenty of marquee tournaments which generally have large player-numbers including:
- $1,500 Millionaire Maker (October 8 & 9)
- $1,500 MONSTER STACK (October 15 & 16)
- $1,000 Double Stack (October 22)
- $400 COLOSSUS (October 29 & 30)
- $1,500 The Closer (November 19 & 20)
WSOP is a No-Go for Europeans
While the European Union has reopened to visitors from the United States, the traffic has not been two-way. Poker players who make the annual pilgrimage to “poker mecca”, the WSOP are in ‘limbo’ right now, uncertain of their ability to get to Las Vegas for the series.