The Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is both beloved and despised by poker players across the planet. For six weeks each summer, the elite and the everyman compete at the same tables for bracelets, glory, and last year, a smidge over $293 million in cash over 80+ tournaments.
But in 2020 that won’t happen as scheduled, as yesterday it was announced that the 51st World Series of Poker will be postponed by Harrah’s, the company that owns the rights to put on the biggest event in gambling.
The 51st running of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), set to begin Tuesday, May 26 from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is officially being postponed as a result of the public health emergency involving COVID-19. It is now targeted for fall of 2020, with exact dates and events to be determined.
“We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker. “In the interim, 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.”
The announcement comes as no surprise, and the infamously degenerate poker community was taking prop betting action on this outcome as much as two months ago. It’s tough to have thousands of people sitting nine-handed, while all touching the same chips and cards, and practice any form of social distancing.
The Rio is often loathed by poker players for a lot of reasons. The Brasilia, Amazon, Pavilion, and Miranda rooms seem acres from the rest of the property. The food options on a tournament break are expensive and often not that great. The decor is straight out of the 90’s, which makes sense for one of the oldest resort properties in Las Vegas.
However those complaints will fade into the background, as now every single card shark or fish in the world will miss not having the biggest event in the game. The WSOP functions as poker’s annual convention, summer camp, and most prestigious competition all rolled into one. It’s 40+ days of grinding and gambling, and whether you’re a 1-2 no limit player or buying in for $1 million in a super high roller, everyone has access to the same chips and chairs on the way to making poker dreams come true.
But this year it will be missed, and the up-in-the-air scheduling combined with a worldwide pandemic could see numbers come in far under their usual totals, if the event is even held at all. For now we’ll have the online tournaments if you’re in the state of New Jersey, Delaware, or Nevada on WSOP.com.
But every poker player in the world will be yearning to get back to that slice of off-the-strip real estate they’ve been bashing for years as soon as possible.