World Series of Poker Goes All-In With Vaccine Mandate
September 10, 2021
The World Series of Poker announced on 26 August that they will only allow those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the much anticipated 2021 tournament. Anyone attending the tournament including vendors, press, and spectators will be required to register and provide proof that they are fully vaccinated.
WSOP Executive Director, Ty Stewart, commented on the announcement saying:
“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.”
After the cancellation of the event in 2020 due to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, WSOP returns to Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, kicking off on 30 September 2021. Attendees need to be fully vaccinated and WSOP recommends the CLEAR pass app for all who wish to register. Everyone is required to show proof of vaccination(s) only once, but organizers suggest that your vaccine pass should be close by at any point during the tournament.
The Ins and Outs
All events at this year’s games will be subject to the jab mandate including the “Main Event” running from 4 to 17 November. Bracelet events, deep stack tournaments, satellites, and live-action games all require proof of being fully vaccinated.
WSOP highly recommends that anyone wishing to register for attendance use the CLEAR app for proof of vaccination details. By doing so, a person can go directly to the cage for registration at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino or do online registration however, they implore all to register well ahead of time. Only persons who received the vaccine 14 days prior to attendance will be allowed onto the premises and satellite events.
“The nature of poker is to be in close proximity with your opponents for extended periods of time, and a seat at the World Series of Poker 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,” continued Ty Stewart.
The State of Nevada has a mask mandate in place and therefore everyone attending will be required to wear facemasks while in the Rio premises. Fully vaccinated participants who may have had exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, will not be required to quarantine should they be asymptomatic.
Show’em What You’ve Got
Attendants from the USA will be able to have all details of their vaccine uploaded to CLEAR’s Health Pass app. The app is only available to users 18 years and older and who received either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson jabs. If you wish to attend from the first day of the tournament, you must receive your single-shot Johnson and Johnson, or second shot Pfizer or Moderna by 16 September.
If you are attending from abroad, ensure that you have photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport as well as a government-issued health pass or vaccine card to present upon registration. Oxford – AstraZeneca, Sinopharm – BBIBP, Sinovac, Covishield are WHO authorized vaccines and are accepted by WSOP, in addition to the three brands administered in the USA.
Hold’em or Fold’em?
The announcement has caused mixed responses from top players with some responding with praise and others with disgust. That beckons the question of who will walk away with the 88 prized bracelets this year.
“Make no mistake, the 2021 WSOP will be the real deal and we’re preparing for a full house. Throughout the storied history of the WSOP, this year will be particularly memorable and we’re preparing for a poker reunion all players can celebrate,” said Ty Stewart.
It is already clear that high-stakes poker pros, Kristen Bicknell and Alex Foxen will not be in the running as their Twitter feeds are stacked with “anti-vaccine passport” posts.
Kristen Bicknell, the three-time bracelet winner posted: “I am boycotting this utterly illogical tyranny” on her Twitter feed, referring to this year’s WSOP vaccine requirement. Alex Foxen also Tweeted on his complete disagreement with the organizers’ decision.
On the other end, Chris Moneymaker thanked WSOP for the announcement that vaccines will be a requirement.
WSOP has a rich history dating back to 1970 where it is said the tournament kicked off with 7 players. It is a highly respected event in the Poker world and has paid $3.29 Billion in prize money drawing the best in the sport to lay their stake. With the proof being in the pudding, we will only know by 23 November which pros decided to celebrate poker and have their stake in the millions.