WSOP Postpones Poker Tournaments Until Fall 2020

The world’s largest poker event, the World Series of Poker, has been postponed for the fall, joining a string of similar events.

WSOP Postpones Global Poker Event for the Fall

The annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas has been postponed, the hosts said on Monday, April 20, citing the COVID-19 lockdown as the reason to pushing the event’s date back. Now, WSOP expects to return at some point during the fall, although no exact date has been given.

WSOP has been among the string of high-profile events to bear the brunt of the lockdown. The Kentucky Derby and PGA Tour have also both been pushed back for September, although the PGA Tour might try to return earlier.

Days before March Madness, the National Collegiate Association (NCAA) had to cancel the event altogether, although for a brief moment there, playing without live audiences was considered, but never approved.

Postponing WSOP can go either way. The event has seen a back-to-back growth, pulling in some 187,298 entries from 118 countries and dishing out $293.2 million in total prize money and setting a new record in 2019.

Yet, given the current climate, 2020 WSOP will probably end up using prize money, interest and players.

One of the reasons for the deferment is the fact that Rio Casino in Las Vegas is shut down because of an order by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak who has shut Sin City for business until such time that health experts give the go-ahead things can start returning to normal.

Some Assembly Required

Ty Stewart, Executive Director at WSOP, has said that the organization entertains alternatives as well, hoping to allow for online events in the interim:

“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.”

WSOP might have to slash some events and re-adjust the buy-ins and prize pools for most of the events on schedule to reflect what would probably be smaller interest in the event. The gold bracelets events alone for the 2019 iteration of the event offered $3.3 million on average.

Rio Casino Seems to be on for the 2020 Edition

Before the COVID-19 hit, the poker community was worried whether Rio Casino would actually host the event as Caesars sold out the property to Dreamscape Companies for $516.3 million.

Caesars will lease the property back from the company it sold off to, but it has not said whether it would consider changing the venue. Caesars is also sold off to Eldorado Resorts, with the $17.3 billion merger deal now subject to finalization.

However, neither Eldorado nor Caesars has commented on WSOP, leaving the brand executives handle the situation. Seth Palansky, VP of Communications at Caesars Interactive, reassured that Rio Casino was WSOP’s home and nothing was likely to change.

While the WSOP is still postponed for an undisclosed date, WSOP already announced that the Global Casino Championship held on August 11-13 will happen at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.  

In the absence of land-based poker, WSOP has been keeping a busy online schedule. PokerStars hosted two online events of its own offering $2.6 million and $85 million in prize pools.

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