In less than two months, the 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is expected to kick off at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. But given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will the annual festival go against all odds and take place as planned, or will organizers finally decide to cancel the event? We may not know until we enter the month of May!
As major poker events all over the world are being dropped one by one due to the current global crisis we are in, the WSOP, one of the most highly-anticipated annual poker festivals in the world, remains in limbo.
Daniel Negreanu Shares Views
In late February, poker pros Doug Polk, Dan O’Brien, and Mike McDonald, among others, said they would be willing to wager on the summer series being canceled this year. Known for always speaking his mind on relevant subjects in and outside poker, Daniel Negreanu now says he doesn’t see a WSOP taking place this summer.
The GGPoker Ambassador who previously announced that he and his wife Amanda were on self-quarantine, said the coronavirus which continues to spread at an alarming rate all over the world, will likely prevent this year’s WSOP from taking place.
Current stats show the US has now surpassed Italy for the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world at more than 142,000, including over 2,400 deaths.
Governments have been imposing strict measures over the past few weeks to curb the virus, ordering the temporary closure of casinos and other big public establishments and venues, banning mass gatherings, and implementing lockdowns. This resulted in the cancellation of several poker festivals all around the globe.
Daniel Negreanu said this summer’s WSOP can be moved to a later date, maybe this fall, but he doesn’t think all will be well by then. If infections and death continue to rise in the weeks and months ahead, it will be impossible to protect a huge poker event like the WSOP from the threat of the virus. The Canadian poker pro says live poker is set to enjoy a boom once the situation with COVID-19 comes to an end as players will likely flock to the tables out of excitement.
Online Poker Enjoys Boom
In the meantime though, attention has considerably turned towards online poker, with live events now going the online route. An example for this is the 2020 Irish Open which was previously dropped from the calendar and will now run as an online event in partnership with partypoker.
GGPoker is also hosting its own online series, the High Rollers Week, after launching its Spin & Gold, their own version of the jackpot sit & go craze. Other online tournaments taking place in the next two months are the inaugural World Poker Tour Online Series, as well as an online edition of the popular Poker Masters, courtesy of Poker Central and partypoker.
Matusow Believes 2020 WSOP Will Push Through
While a lot of players do not believe the 2020 WSOP will not push through, Mike Matusow, another outspoken poker pro, is going the opposite route. The four-time WSOP bracelet winner is betting 12-1 that the festival will proceed as planned.
This is also the current stance of the WSOP management. The latest statement from Seth Palansky, WSOP’s Director of Corporate Communications, is that the team is still keeping their heads down and putting in place plans for the upcoming summer festival.  They remain hopeful that everything will return to normal by Easter.
WSOP Schedule Remains Intact
WSOP officials state that they will continue to “monitor the situation” and the schedule remains intact pending further announcements. The management also emphasized that they would be prepared to implement expanded measures to protect everyone’s health and safety.
The 51st WSOP features a total of 101 bracelet events, 87 live and 14 will take place online at WSOP.com. Last year, the festival was a huge success, awarding $293,183,345 in prize money after attracting a record 187,298 entries.

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