It may be scheduled for later than usual this year, but officials with the World Series of Poker announced this week they plan to resume a full, live-action tournament schedule in 2021.
The entire slate of events will be announced later this summer, but the first tournaments will start on Sept. 30 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. In a release, officials said the opening weekend of events is expected to include a charity event for frontline healthcare workers.
A $25,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament and a $5 million guaranteed No-Limit Hold’em event billed as “The Reunion” are also in the works for the opening weekend.
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,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart in a release. “In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas.”
With six months until the events start, officials said they will work with gaming regulators to determine what COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the WSOP.
The WSOP is expected to finish on Nov. 23.
Tournament organizers won’t accept registrations until the summer, as events still must be approved by Nevada regulators. However, the Rio is already taking room reservations for players.
The Main Event will be part of the live action as well. Play in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em headliner is scheduled to begin on Nov. 4, with the first four days scheduled as starting days. Those who start on Nov. 4 or 5 and survive will continue play on Nov. 8. Those who are still around after starting on either Nov. 6 or 7 will have their second day of rounds on Nov. 9.
The fields will combine starting Nov. 10.
Last year, the WSOP held the Main Event in a hybrid format because of the pandemic. There were two legs, an International leg and another in the US. Initial play in each took place online, with final tables in both playing face-to-face. The winners of the European and American legs faced off in a head-to-head match for the coveted bracelet.
Damian Salas of Argentina won the bracelet, beating US winner Joseph Hebert. He qualified through a $300 satellite and wound up winning more than $2.5 million.
While there are live events planned for the fall, organizers are expecting to field a full slate of online poker tournaments as well over the summer.
Organizers will release more information about the online tournaments at WSOP.com starting on April 15.
Last year, thanks to the pandemic, WSOP.com held 31 online tournaments, which doled out almost $27 million in cash prizes. That’s an American record for online poker.
WSOP.com also partnered with GGPoker to hold an online Main Event, which broke a world record for the largest online poker tournament ever, as it paid out $27.5 million in cash prizes. The global series, which comprised 45 events, awarded nearly $150 million in cash.