Security measures at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) have been placed under the spotlight after a number of players had reported multiple robbery incidents outside the Rio.
One of the victims said he was robbed at gunpoint in what he described the “scariest” moment of his life at the Pavilion parking lot of the Rio casino where the WSOP is currently taking place. A man in camouflage jumped out of a car and shoved a gun in the victim’s face, demanding his backpack, which contained the keys to his car and thousands of dollars in cash. The victim, poker pro Joey Salvaggi, spoke out about the robbery incident in a Twitter post which went viral and elicited similar concerns from other players.
In one of the comments on Salvaggi’s tweet, a player claimed he was also robbed two weeks in the Rio parking lot. The player claimed the robber took away his $10,000 WSOP Main Event buy-in during the incident which occurred on July 1. The poker player also lashed out at Rio’s handling of the situation, saying it took almost an hour for the casino’s security to contact the police.
Call for Improved Security
The WSOP is now being called on to improve their security measures to protect players. Joey Ingram was among the first prominent members of the poker community to speak out, saying it’s awful how the WSOP had allowed these robberies to happen by not putting in place tough security at big and open public spaces like parking lots. With the massive profit they get through rake collections from players, it’s only fair that the company gives players the enhanced security they deserve.
Ryan Laplante is on the same page as Ingram. The poker coach said security on the property should now be reinforced to prevent similar incidents from happening again. Laplante said reports of multiple robberies occurring outside the Rio will only make players feel unsafe.
WSOP Taking Security Seriously
In light of recent safety concerns, WSOP officials have responded to clear the brand’s name. Seth Palansky, Caesars’ Vice President of Corporate Communications, said they’re working with local, state and federal agencies to ensure total safety for the entire event. Law enforcers are present throughout the event and the WSOP also provides additional security to players on request. However, most of the players at the WSOP are not aware that they can avail of special security measures!
The official Twitter account of the WSOP also outlined some of these security measures adopted during the tournament. Some of them including offering security escorts to parking areas that players can request as they wish, wire transfer and check payment methods being made available, as well as safety deposit boxes. The WSOP also emphasized that parking lot patrols are present and will be present for the entire duration of the festival.
Officials said players have a variety of security options at their disposal which they can make use of to better protect themselves. Aside from requesting for security escorts, using safety deposit boxes and transacting via wire transfer and check, players can also set up a tournament buy-in account where deposits and withdrawals are all done digitally.
They can also decide to pay using casino chips, with the higher amounts being marked and tracked. A valet parking service is also offered, adding another level of protection for players and their vehicles.
With a massive flow of funds taking place on a daily basis, casinos have become known targets for robbers and thieves. Players carrying cash are often targeted as they’re generally unarmed and are often alone, showing predictable patterns. The WSOP is the biggest event in poker history and the 2019 edition has more than $200 million in prize money up for grabs.
Thankfully none of the reported robbery incidents at the 2019 WSOP has resulted in physical harm or injury.
Joint Effort Required
The WSOP has also pointed out that players shouldn’t leave it all to the security personnel as players can maximize their safety by employing precautionary measures.
Players are encouraged to avoid carrying cash and take advantage of digital transactions or opening up a tournament account. Cashouts can also be claimed in check form and winners can get a security escort after their victory. The most important thing a player can do is to stay vigilant.
In the wake of these security issues, officials at Caesars and the WSOP have assured everyone that player safety continue to be their top priority.

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