The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) gets underway today and will run till Nov 23. This is likely to be the last time the WSOP takes place at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada which is owned by Caesars Entertainment.
Bally and Flamingo Poker Room Closed
Caesars recently announced that it has decided to close the poker rooms at its Bally’s and Flamingo casinos. These two poker rooms are likely to be closed for the next two months as the dealers from these two rooms will be sent over to the 2021 WSOP.
The WSOP is facing a dealer shortage and has been actively recruiting to hire as many dealers as possible. However, they have been having trouble meeting their targets which is why Caesars decided at the last minute to go ahead and close their two poker rooms and transfer their poker dealers to the WSOP. The two poker rooms at Bally’s and Flamingo is expected to reopen on Nov 27.
In a statement, Ty Stewart, executive director of the WSOP said “It is all hands on deck. Absolutely, as our field sizes get bigger and bigger, and fewer poker rooms deal the specialized games offered at WSOP, sourcing qualified dealers is a constant challenge. This year we stepped up to guarantee a higher hourly wage. We feel confident we’re ready to execute against our schedule.”
WSOP Downplays Dealer Shortage
Steward downplayed concerns over dealer shortage at the 2021 WSOP and said they were confident that all of their satellites, cash games, and bracelet events will run as usual. However, there have been rumors circulating for weeks now that the WSOP was struggling to hire dealers.
The WSOP faces challenges with poker dealers in terms of hiring and retention each year as a lot of poker dealers get tired and stressed out as the month and a half long tournament takes its toll on them. The annual WSOP which usually runs during May and June each year was shifted to the fourth quarter of 2021 due to concerns over COVID-19.
The COVID-19 situation is also making it difficult for the WSOP to recruit dealers this year and at this time. The WSOP has made it mandatory for all players and media to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in the live poker tournament but has given poker dealers the option to either vaccinate or remain unvaccinated.
The WSOP is alleged to have sent out an email to WSOP dealers offering them $250 in cash if they take the vaccine during the WSOP. They also get a chance to participate in a $25,000 promo where the eventual winner will receive a prize of $5,000.
Even with these dealer incentives, the WSOP continues to face a dealer shortage. The push to get WSOP dealers vaccinated during the live poker tournament is strange in some ways. This is because dealers who get vaccinated during the tournament are likely to take a few days off as they feel the after-effects of the vaccine. This is likely to cause more dealer shortages and one wonders if the WSOP vaccine promotion can be counterproductive.
Some poker players have also questioned the decision to allow unvaccinated dealers to be part of the 2021 WSOP. If poker players are required to be mandatorily vaccinated to enter, then dealers should also be or it makes no sense for vaccinated players to sit at a table that has an unvaccinated dealer.
However given the table dealer shortage that the WSOP is facing, it hasn’t enforced a mandatory dealer vaccination policy.

Tight Poker Staff

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Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.