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Live poker: what does it take?

COVID-19 has taught us one thing: nothing is guaranteed. Since the moment the WSOP organizers announced they plan to host some of the events live, the rules and COVID restrictions have changed multiple times – confusing poker players all across the country.

What will WSOP events and tournaments look like? Will only vaccinated players be able to attend? And will they have to adhere to social distancing rules and wear a mask?

Learn all about how the pandemic will affect live poker games and online poker welcome bonuses alike!

The Controversy Surrounding the Upcoming WSOP Events

In August 2021, poker players were first informed of the safety regulations the WSOP organizers chose to impose to ensure the live evens will remain COVID-free… and not everyone was happy.

At first, it was announced that only vaccinated players would be allowed to enter the casino where WSOP will take place. In addition to that, it was declared that both players and casino personnel would have to wear masks.

That important announcement sparked a heated debate on the relevance of vaccination in poker play. Kristen Bicknell, a renowned poker pro, tweeted the following: "I am boycotting this utterly illogical tyranny. I'm tired of playing along with rules and mandates that don't make sense."

Other poker players have also expressed their displeasure with the WSOP's decision, calling the events' organizers tyrants. They also claimed that allowing only vaccinated players to enter the competition is unfair and seriously affects their civil rights.

However, other poker pros fully supported the vaccination mandate, saying that the public's health is more important than anything.

WSOP Stance on Vaccines & Face Masks

Since this WSOP announcement rocked the poker community, new developments have changed things.

On September 2, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak published the Emergency Directive 050. The new state regulations allow event organizers to choose between two options:

  • Allowing unvaccinated people to attend indoor events while requiring everyone to wear a mask.
  • Allowing only vaccinated people to attend, giving them permission to remove their masks.

When faced with the new information, WSOP organizers decided to opt for the second option, which means that unvaccinated players will have to stick with online poker for the time being.

The new guidelines mean that players will be exempt from wearing masks at the tables, but once they step away from them – the masks must go back on. Interestingly enough, this rule applies only to players. Casino employees don't have to get vaccinated, but they will have to wear masks at all times.

In addition to that, it was made clear that if vaccinated players test positive for COVID-19, they will not be automatically disqualified from the tournament – as long as they remain asymptomatic.

WSOP Tournaments Details

The WSOP events will start on September 30 and will last till November 23. During this time, 88 bracelet events will take place at the traditional Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Players will be required to show proof of vaccination upon registration to be able to participate in the events. During the tournaments themselves, the WSOP will use the CLEAR mobile app and Heal Passes to allow players to enter the casino quickly and without going through additional verification processes.

And What About You?

Now, only one question remains: where will you be once the WSOP events start? Will you be watching the games from the sidelines or participating in the tournaments yourself? Or will you prefer to stay at home, lay poker online, and find out about the latest WSOP wins from the comfort of your own home?