With COVID-19 still posing a threat to everyone’s health and safety, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has published a new list of rules for the upcoming live festival at the Rio this September. The latest rules include a clause which gives members of staff of either the WSOP or the Rio the right to remove any participant identified to be a health risk.
The 2021 WSOP will run from September 30 to November 23 at the Rio in Las Vegas, featuring 88 bracelet events. The live festival returns this year after taking a break for more than 24 months due to the pandemic.
Removing Health Risks at Sole Discretion of WSOP/Rio
According to the latest set of rules released this week, the WSOP and the Rio reserve the right to remove anyone for health or safety-related reasons. Rule 115 states further that any participant removed from the venue won’t be awarded any extra compensation, other than what he or she had already earned before being removed from the competition.
This means that a player will not receive a refund for his or her entry fee if he or she ends up being removed in the middle of a tournament. If the participant has already made the money at the time they’re removed, they will be awarded the relevant payout and will be officially out of the tournament.
Players Raise Concerns Over New Rules
The WSOP prioritizes the health and safety of staff, employees, players, and all of the people involved in the upcoming event, and the new set of rules will help ensure that everyone is protected. But certain aspects of the latest rules don’t sit well with some players.
As spelled out in the document, not only those suspected of contracting COVID-19 or anyone who tested positive for the virus will be escorted out of the venue. Any participant found to have come into close proximity of COVID-19 positive cases will also be removed from the Rio.
As we all know, it’s extremely hard to figure out if a person is infected with the virus unless they manifest symptoms or undergo a test. Thus, it’s unavoidable to be exposed to an infected person at some point especially if you have no knowledge that they’re already carrying the virus.
Meaning, it’s not entirely your fault if you cross paths with someone who has the virus, and if you end up getting your bracelet dream shattered and missing out on the chance to win big because of that, it would really be disappointing.
Another issue that could arise from these new rules is that some tournaments could be postponed, especially if a significant number of participants are eventually removed from the event. The organizers would have to deal with these potential logistical issues, which could significantly impact the running of the entire series and cause frustration and unrest among players.
Could the 2021 WSOP Be Cancelled?
A recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Nevada and across the US, mainly brought about by the more contagious and deadly Delta variant, has prompted authorities to reinstate the mandatory wearing of face masks, with the government also extending its European travel ban.
The US is ramping up its vaccination efforts, as many Americans still remain hesitant to get the jab. Since last month, the country has recorded an increasing number of daily COVID-19 cases, and health authorities are expecting the figures to continue to rise.
The WSOP already stated that it’s sticking to its plans for the fall festival, despite the surge in cases, but that could change if the situation worsens over the next few weeks. Some are now suggesting that only those fully vaccinated should be allowed to participate in the WSOP, or that the current rules must be adjusted to give some benefits to vaccinated people. Clearly, obstacles continue to exist, and this could force organizers to postpone or ultimately cancel this year’s festival.

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.