2021 WSOP: Covid Rules Cause Concerns


Summer was here. People were looking forward to the 2021 WSOP. Things were going well for Las Vegas as they recovered from the pandemic. And then, we heard of this new “Delta” variant. And then, things weren’t so well.

Amid the return of mandatory face masks in Sin City, the rules for the upcoming World Series of Poker were released this week. And if the thought of playing in a city considered a Coronavirus hot spot doesn’t bother you, the rules for the tourney just might.

The new rules for the 2021 WSOP find that a player can be disqualified from the tourney for testing positive for Covid. And while that may be understood (but still a bummer) it’s the next part of that rule that has players scratching their heads: Players will be eliminated if they are in proximity to any player who tests positive!

If you want to pour some salt on that wound then try to wrap your head around the fact that the tournament rules also state that if you test positive (or are sitting next to a player who does test positive) you will not get your buy in returned to you. Tournament rules now allow them to boot you from the competition “without compensation”.

The only small (and we mean tiny) positive aspect to all of this is that if a player is kicked out after the bubble then they will be awarded the cash prize, just as if they had been knocked out by another player. Still, what a lousy way to go.

It’s unclear how these new rules will affect the number of players willing to take a risk in these events. But we believe it’s a safe bet that many from Europe and around the world will take a pass on the 2021 WSOP. In addition to the requirements of international travel, and the risk of contracting Covid in transit, the risk may not justify the reward.

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