A spate of COVID-19 cases at the ongoing World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio in Las Vegas is at the center of the latest Twitter clash between two poker players, this time involving Vanessa Kade and Todd Witteles.
Kade, who tested positive for COVID-19 in late October, is now being accused of spreading the virus at the festival after some players who took part in the Main Event have announced they have COVID-19.
Witteles has claimed Kade returned to the festival without providing a negative test, and that she could have passed the infection on to other players.
Kade’s COVID-19 Experience
Vanessa Kade, an ambassador for Americas Cardroom (ACR), was forced to leave the WSOP a few weeks ago after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. She took a test while under self-isolation in her hotel room and the result came back positive. She then relayed her test result to the poker community.
Kade can’t say exactly when and where she got the virus, but she thinks she may have been infected at some point last month before Event #51: $3000 Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em. Because of this, she urged anyone she may have been in contact with to also self-isolate and get tested. She was among the first players at the WSOP to come forward with a positive COVID-19 test.
The Canadian poker pro battled with the disease for more than a week and described the entire experience as the “most sick” she’s ever been. Thankfully, Kade fully recovered just in time for the Main Event. She was allowed to return to the festival according to WSOP rules and took a shot at the Main Event. She also opted to keep her mask on while playing and even when posing for photos.
This explains why Kade is visibly irked with what she describes as Witteles’ “ridiculous assumptions”. In response to Witteles’ claims, Kade said she has no reason to put other people’s lives at risk. She was permitted to return to the festival because she already tested negative multiple times. She said she was also checked by WSOP’s EMTs before she was allowed to play again.
Kade Hits Back at Witteles
In her tweets, Kade also brought up Todd Witteles‘ prior history of making slanderous statements in his podcasts out of his failure to properly research his topics. She threatened to launch legal action against Witteles if he continues to make such assumptions.
Meanwhile, there are some inconsistencies in Witteles’ statements. In a now-deleted post, she said Kade came back at the festival 11 days after testing positive for the virus.
When Kade said that a person with COVID-19 is only contagious in the first week of being infected, Witteles later modified his own claims by saying that the Canadian pro played the Main Event 8 days after her positive test result.
Contracting COVID-19 at WSOP Unavoidable
Witteles maintained that the WSOP should have required Kade to present a negative test, just like what’s being done in sports leagues, workplaces, and schools. Kade insists she did not break any rules and even went above and beyond what was required.
With thousands of people attending the WSOP, contracting the virus is inevitable. That’s despite numerous safety measures being implemented, such as requiring players to be fully vaccinated before taking part in the festival.
We all know vaccines don’t offer 100% protection from COVID-19, but they prevent patients from getting seriously ill. This week, high-stakes pro and commentator Nick Schulman also publicly revealed that he would take a break from the broadcast booth as he tested positive for the virus. Chris Hunichen also previously caught COVID-19 while playing at the festival.