4 Minutes Read
On April 1, known globally as April Fool’s Day, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) dropped a bombshell by announcing the return of its much-awaited annual live series. After more than a year-long hiatus, the WSOP may be making a comeback in September 2021. The brand released a tentative schedule yesterday, indicating the live series will return on September 30 and run till November 23 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The announcement also confirmed WSOP Europe’s return (November 19 to December 8) and the second running of the WSOP Online Series for later this year.
We have recapped time and again how hard 2020 was for the live poker industry. With the COVID-19 global outbreak, casinos shut shop, leading to many prominent live stops getting either canceled or postponed. Among them was the ‘world’s biggest poker festival’, the WSOP.
The annual WSOP series in Las Vegas and WSOP Europe were both canceled last year because of the pandemic. The WSOP Online Series was held in its place over the summer, followed by a hybrid online/live WSOP Main Event in December and January.
The WSOP is planning a full in-person schedule for the fall, this year. The schedule includes the showstopper the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold ’em World Championship – Main Event to be held from November 4 to 17 with four starting days.
Last year’s live/online hybrid Main Event had registered 1,379 combined entrants from the US and international fields. International champion Damian Salas of Argentina eventually defeated US champion Joseph Hebert in the heads-up match at the Rio, earning a total prize pool of $2.55 Million.
The tentative series is expected to open with a special charity event to benefit frontline health workers, a $25,000 HORSE, and a $5 Million GTD No-Limit Hold ’em event billed as “The Reunion.”
“This year, more than ever, we embrace our role at the WSOP to deliver memorable experiences and bring this community of poker lovers back together. In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director, in the press release.
WSOP officials caution that all dates are tentative and subject to regulatory approval based on the state of coronavirus restrictions. No decision has been made on the number of players allowed at each table, whether the tables will have plexiglass dividers, or other restrictions.
Will International Players be able to Attend the Series?
While 2021 has fared better than last year, the COVID-19 threat has not been wholly averted yet. Many countries have started off their respective vaccination drives, including India. Though September is still five months away, provided the situation continues to improve, the series may witness healthy international participation.
Hotel room reservations are already being accepted by Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas resorts, including the headquarters at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, with rates as low as $60 for existing Caesars Rewards members. However, specific COVID-19 safety standards and other related 2021 tournament policies will be reviewed with gaming regulators in the event’s lead-up.
The WSOP has already confirmed that it intends to comply with all directives from the state of Nevada regarding social distancing and capacity limits on the tournament dates.
WSOP Europe 2021
Besides the WSOP, the WSOP Europe (WSOPE) will also be making a comeback from November 19 to December 8 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The series will feature 15 gold bracelet events, along with a €10,000 buy-in WSOP Europe Main Event and a €50,000 High Roller event.
“We hope and anticipate travel restrictions will ease by the fall,” said Stewart. “It’s important to us that we have an excellent tournament schedule available to our European players.”
WSOP Online 2021
For players who may not be able to travel to attend the live WSOP series in Las Vegas or the WSOPE in Rozvadov, they will get the chance to win the gold bracelet in the WSOP Online 2021.
The inaugural WSOP Online Series was a raging success and did phenomenally well to fill in the void left by the cancelation of the annual WSOP stop in Las Vegas. The WSOP Online 2020 was divided between WSOP.com and GGPoker/Natural8. WSOP.com’s domestic series awarded nearly $27 Million in prize money across its 31 events, making it far and away the biggest online tournament series in the history of US regulated poker. Meanwhile, the series hosted on the GGNetwork covered 54 bracelet events and set numerous records as well.
In fact, the WSOP Online Main Event created history by becoming the largest online poker tournament with a $27.5 million prize pool for a single event and entered the Guinness Book World Record for this feat.
For the WSOP Online 20201, WSOP.com will hold the domestic tournaments on its All-American Poker Network beginning Thursday, July 1, closing with a $1,000 championship. Qualification will be available for as little as $1.
The dates for the WSOP Online 2021 are slated to be announced on April 15.
This is a developing story, and more details will be added as they become available. Keep following PokerGuru for the latest updates!