The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) commenced on Sep 30 at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada. The WSOP will run till Nov 23 in what could be its final appearance at the Rio as there are talks that the WSOP will move to Ballys in 2022.
Poker players have shared their feedback and thoughts on social media as we come to the close of the first week of the 2021 WSOP. The overall feedback has been generally good with a few complaints which are expected given the size of the WSOP and the fact that the management is trying to pull of this huge live poker tournament taking into consideration the risks of COVID-19.
Registrations Lines and Vax Problems
Thousands of players from all over the world make their way to the Rio each year to take part in the biggest live poker tournament in the world. There have always been complaints about the long queues to register at the WSOP even in the best of times. The 2021 WSOP added more red tape to the registration process with the mandatory vaccination requirement.
The WSOP made it clear prior to the start of the tournament that it would only allow fully vaccinated players who were vaccinated 14 days prior to attending the WSOP entry into the tournament. Players who wanted to attend the WSOP were asked to download the clear health app, upload their vaccination certificates and provide proof of the same at the registration desk.
A lot of players got this process wrong as many of them did not complete the final step which was get the green verified status on the clear app. Players who had the green verified certificate were able to quickly register for their events and move on but there were hundreds of players, especially from overseas who had not verified their status.
Foreign players spent a number of hours standing in the vaccination line, getting verified and then moving over to the registration line and spending more hours to buy-in to the events they wanted to play.
Overpriced Food and Beverages
A lot of players like to grab a quick bite at the Rio and head back to the tables but that may not be possible for a lot of players this year as there has been chatter at the tables and on social media that they were being fleeced with hot dogs being sold at $12 and $14 for a burger. If you want anything more substantial along with a drink, be prepared to pay around $30.
Most poker players have to leave the Rio and go look elsewhere for food that is more reasonably priced. This is definitely an inconvenience for both the player and the WSOP as players are spending more time away from the tables.
WSOP Managing Dealer Shortage
There were reports that the WSOP tried to hire 1,300 dealers but only ended up hiring 630. Caesars closed Ballys and the Flamingo to shift their dealers over to the WSOP. So far, the WSOP seems to have enough dealers but we will have to see if this becomes an issue as the tournament progresses.
EU Players Might Miss WSOP Main Event
The WSOP Main Event could miss out on a number of players from Europe due to travel restrictions. The Biden government announced in September that it would lift the ban on international travel in November for fully vaccinated tourists.
EU players need to be at the Rio by Nov 4 if they are to take part in the Main Event. So far there has been no confirmation as to when the travel ban will be lifted and it looks like EU players will miss out on the 2021 WSOP Main Event.