The World Series of Poker was moved from the summer to the fall this year due to the continual issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. As we near the start date of the series, organizers have announced that anyone participating in a WSOP event must be vaccinated. Full vaccination is required and must be completed with 14 days of an event start date.
Proof of Vaccination
Across the United States, major events are requiring that individuals provide a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. Concerts seemed to be the start of this requirement and the WSOP is the first major gambling event to require not only vaccination but not offer a negative test option.
Players in Nevada will need to supply proof upon the first registration with the WSOP. This can be done with a health pass app or with a physical card. There will be areas set up on-site to ensure that the proof can be provided with ease and there is no hold-up for events.
The policy applies to everyone involved with the WSOP, not just players. Media personnel onsite as well as staff members and spectators must be vaccinated. Ty Stewart, the Executive Director of the WSOP, stated that the decision was not made lightly. Because poker is such a close contact game, it was inevitable that vaccination is required to ensure the health of players.
Along with vaccination, players must also wear masks when competing in WSOP events. Such protocols remain in place to provide further protection from the virus as events play out.
Help or Hurt the Series?
Once the news broke, everyone was on social media discussing the topic, including professional players. Chris Moneymaker had actually decided not to compete so he would not potentially expose his family to the virus. With this recent decision, he now feels more comfortable attending and thanked the organizers for the decision.
Others are not happy. Mike Matusow took to Twitter, talking about how the WSOP is now ‘dumb stupid sheep’. It will be interesting to see which pros show up and which ones decide to avoid playing for the simple fact of now wanting to be vaccinated.