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COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Postponement of 2020 WSOP

2020 WSOP shooting for fall now

This year’s World Series of Poker has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 WSOP was scheduled to start May 27th and end July 14th. The new target for the world’s largest poker festival is this fall.

“We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, in Monday’s announcement.

In addition to the to-be-determined date shift, “changes are anticipated” to the schedule. What this exactly means is a bit cryptic, but it is thought that the schedule will be shortened from its current size of about 100 events.

Increased focus on online events

The summer will not be completely without the World Series of Poker, though. To fill some of the gap between when the 2020 WSOP season was supposed to be happening and when it actually will be, the series will further develop its online offerings.

“….we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes,” said Stewart.

There are already 14 gold bracelet online events on the 2020 World Series of Poker schedule, to be held on WSOP.com. Only players located in Nevada and New Jersey can play on that site. This is an issue now that people will not be flying into Las Vegas for the Series. That is why Stewart said they will work with international partners on other internet options.

The two most likely online partners to host events for players outside the United States are 888poker and GGPoker. 888poker provides the software for WSOP.com and has been a World Series sponsor in the past. GGPoker was also recently announced as the host site for the upcoming WSOP Super Circuit Online Series in May.

Safety is paramount

There is a solid chance that the World Series of Poker will not have run as scheduled. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all Nevada casinos to close a little more than a month ago. The shutdown order is set to go through the end of April, but it is possible it could be extended well into May.

In addition to the casinos going dark, the entire state is under a stay-at-home order. This is due to an attempt to reduce the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Though Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman calls the current measures “insanity,” the fact remains that coronavirus cases and deaths are occurring every day.

Nevada is better off than many states primarily because of its smaller, spread-out population, with “just” 3,937 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 163 deaths as of April 21st.

Poker tables would be one of the easiest places for the virus to spread. One key factor is that players would be packed close together and everyone is touching the same chips and cards. Another logistical problem would be players flying in from all over the world. Someone could be a carrier of the virus, even if they are asymptomatic. To avoid disaster, these postponement measures are best kept in place.

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