In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to VegasThe World Series of Poker has announced its plan to run a full program of live events in 2021. The series is due to take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in the fall.
It will no doubt look very different to previous incarnations but the intention to run any kind of live series of events at all this year will come as welcome news to all fans of poker.
The first change which is immediately obvious is to the calendar. While the WSOP usually begins some time in May, the 2021 edition will run from September 30 through November 23.
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So far, other details are thin on the ground, but a charity tournament raising money for front-line health workers is slated for the opening weekend.
Other events named in the press release include a $25,000 HORSE tournament as well as a No Limit Hold’em contest with a $5 million guarantee which organizers have christened, “The Reunion.”
The $10,000 Main Event is scheduled to run from November 4 through 17, an echo of the days of the November Nine. There will be four Day 1s, and two Day 2s before the two flights join together for a Day 3 on November 10.
The rest of the schedule is not yet specified, but there there usually a Day 4 through to at least Day 7, a couple of day’s rest ahead, then the final table, scheduled for Wednesday, November 17.
In 2019, the last time the Main Event ran, it actually had days for play down to six, then down to three, to maximize the spectacle.
WSOP 2021 Main Event Schedule
|Day 1A||Thursday||November 4|
|Day 1B||Friday||November 5|
|Day 1C||Saturday||November 6|
|Day 1D||Sunday||November 7|
|Day 2A (for flights 1A and 1B)||Monday||November 8|
|Day 2B (for flights 1C and 1D)||Tuesday||November 9|
|Day 3||Wednesday||November 10|
|Final Table||Wednesday||November 17|
Proceeding With Caution
The statement is understandably tentative and low on detail, and there are plenty of caveats regarding logistics and regulatory approval. Nevertheless, the news reflects a level of optimism for live poker that we have not seen for a long time.
Indeed, the announcement comes barely a week after the second postponement of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC), which had been penciled in for August.
WSOP Executive Director, Ty Stewart commented, “This year, more than ever, we embrace our role at the WSOP to deliver memorable experiences and bring this community of poker lovers back together.”
Stewart is clearly aware of the risks involved and the speculative nature of the plans. Striking a balance between caution and optimism he said, “*In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas.*”
Nothing Set in Stone
Of course, the few details that were revealed in the statement may prove susceptible to change, given the uncertain times we are still living in and the unpredictability of the whole coronavirus saga.
However, Caesars Entertainment is already accepting bookings for the WSOP in their Las Vegas hotels—including the Rio.
Safety protocols and policies are still to be reviewed by regulators. These will concern matters such as social distancing and are likely to affect tournament capacities and other procedural factors throughout the series.
Organizing events with the size and scope of the WSOP is a herculean feat at the best of times but during the time of Covid, the logistics involved will be more complex than ever.
Ambitious Plans Extend Beyond the USA
As if running one series wasn’t demanding enough, The WSOP also took the opportunity to release details of their bracelet events in Europe and online in 2021.
Subject to regulatory approval, WSOP Europe will run from November 19 through December 8, and will be held at King’s Casino in Rozvadov in the Czech Republic. 15 bracelet events are expected, including a €10,000 main event and a €50,000 High Roller tournament.
As regards the 2021 edition of WSOP Online, The U.S. roster of events will be held on WSOP’s All-American Poker Network. The domestic series starts on July 1 and will conclude with a $1000 championship.
More concrete information on all the events will be released throughout the summer. WSOP.com is set to publish full details of its online tournament schedule on April 15 and international WSOP Online schedule will follow shortly after.