2020 WSOP in Las Vegas Postponed Until Fall

The date was approaching. The 51st World Series of Poker was preparing to kick off its summer of 101 gold bracelet events on May 26…little more than one month from now. WSOP officials had been feeling the pressure to make a decision but finally issued a statement today, April 20.

The 2020 WSOP is postponed.

Inevitable Announcement

Poker players and fans had a feeling it would happen. More than one month after casinos around America – including all of them in Las Vegas – there is no firm date for them to reopen. Some casinos have indicated that they will implement some new practices and try to open in the coming weeks, but the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino is not one of them.

The Rio is the home of the WSOP.

Officials with the WSOP likely held out hope until it was simply no longer practical. With one month before the set-up needed to begin in the Rio Convention Center, the WSOP issued an announcement today. It is officially postponed.

The reason needs little explanation, as countries around the world are still in some form of home quarantine status from the coronavirus pandemic. The WSOP did say the postponement is a result of the “public health emergency involving COVID-19.”

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart reaffirmed his commitment to holding the WSOP this year, but they need “additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being.”

Plans for Summer Online and Fall Live

The WSOP statement said the 51st World Series of Poker is “now targeted for fall of 2020, with exact dates and events to be determined.”

This means that the schedule of 101 gold bracelet events, the majority of which were to take place at the Rio, may be slimmed down and rearranged.

In the meantime, the WSOP wants to take some of it online. The WSOP just ran a successful WSOP Circuit Super Series online in three states in America last month with a great deal of success, and the first international version of the WSOP Circuit Super Series is scheduled for early May.

Stewart said, “Official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer, and we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes.”

Online Poker Options

It seems that the WSOP will move forward with its aforementioned WSOP Circuit Super Series in May as planned, which will be open to Canadian players via GGPoker.

There had been 14 online poker events on the official 2020 WSOP schedule, all of which were to be played online at the WSOP online poker site. It would have been open to all players in Las Vegas for the series – all players in Nevada, actually – and in Delaware and New Jersey. These are likely to play in some form, possibly on different dates or with added events. WSOP officials will likely release more information about this in the next few weeks, as the first WSOP Online bracelet event was scheduled for May 31.

Since the WSOP has a partnership with GGPoker now, they could use that site for international players to compete online for WSOP gold bracelets. The WSOP did have a long-running relationship with the 888 brand, as that was the official poker site and sponsor of the WSOP, but 888Poker recently removed online poker satellites for the WSOP. It is unclear if the relationship is ongoing or if GGPoker is now the sole WSOP online partner.

Many questions remain, but it is clear that there will be some online poker gold bracelet events this summer, both for US customers and those in Canada and around the world.

What We Know

There are a few things that we know for certain.

First, the announcement noted that there WILL be a $10,000 buy-in WSOP No Limit Hold’em World Championship – the Main Event. It will play somewhere, somehow, and sometime this year. That will be a live tournament.

Second, poker fans and players who had reservations at the Rio or at any Caesars Entertainment properties should request a refund or hold on those bookings. Caesars customer representatives can handle those requests by phone (1-800-223-7277) or online via this link.

Third, Canadians will be able to participate in the international bracelet events likely to be scheduled for this summer on GGPoker. And if they choose (and if the border restrictions are relaxed by then), they can also head to Nevada, Delaware, or New Jersey to play the events that will likely be scheduled on WSOP.com.

Fourth, the coronavirus pandemic sucks.

Further, it has made the likelihood of roomfuls of poker players packed next to each other at hundreds of tables less of a reality. Players handling poker chips and cards and tables and money and various body parts is just not going to happen as usual. There will be new safety regulations, seating arrangements, and other requirements in place for most casinos going forward that will change the way most people think of the WSOP.

But, fifth and finally, there will be a 2020 WSOP.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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