2020 WSOP Surely Can’t Go Ahead As Planned

It's looking increasingly unlikely the 2020 WSOP will take place

The World Series of Poker management team still hasn’t made a decision about the 2020 WSOP. Sporting events around the world are either cancelled or postponed, but the 2020 WSOP is still going ahead according to the festival’s senior managers.

Seth Palansky went on record on March 1 to say there were no plans to cancel the 2020 WSOP. Palansky, the Vice President of Corporate Communications, refused to admit the 2020 WSOP is under threat.

A decision needs making sooner rather than later with the first event scheduled to start in May. The $500 Casino Employees event is scheduled for May 27 with the BIG 50 starting May 28. That is approximately six weeks away, which isn’t a long time to plan staff and players to plan for the 2020 WSOP.

All Las Vegas casinos are currently on an enforced lockdown to help limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the home of the WSOP. Casinos are set to reopen, but there’s also a chance the lockdown could be extended as the virus is spreading around the United States like wildfire.

Still No Decision About the 2020 WSOP

Palansky said an immediate decision isn’t yet needed in a recent online interview.

“Everyone’s health and safety are paramount in the decision-making, but there’s no need to make a decision today. There’s no finite date for the final decision, but sometime next month.”

The WSOP takes over the Rio’s massive conference rooms for eight weeks each summer. Those conference rooms are booked up several months in advance. Palansky confirmed this when answering questions about the WSOP’s future after the Rio’s recent sale.

Other gatherings need to cancel to create an opening for the 2020 WSOP to switch dates.

“There is no way for us to pick up and move this event and find an eight-week hole in the convention centre calendar. Maybe by waiting, other conventions may cancel or postpone their plans. Maybe a window opens up that will suffice.”

Palansky hinted the 2020 WSOP won’t move to an online format and cancellation is possible.

“Poker is at the bottom of the priority list for everyone right now, us included. Rest assured, the WSOP will make the right decision. But coming to that decision, it is beneficial to use the time we have to continue to gather information and use that information effectively.”

“If we can’t host an event like we have in the past 50 years in Las Vegas, where everyone can participate safely and without undue risk, we won’t. There’s a plethora of factors to consider, especially when you conceptualize alternatives. That said, the only factor that matters for the WSOP to be held as planned is the health and safety of guests and staff. We will rely on the health experts and our government and regulatory leaders in making our decision and follow their guidelines.”

What Are The Options For The Series?

Members of the poker community want the 2020 WSOP to take place online. Several live events have done this recently.

partypoker is hosting a World Poker Tour stop online. It is also running the 2020 Irish Open after the Irish government pulled the rug from under it. The Irish Open is the second-longest running live poker tour in the world.

The problem with the 2020 WSOP taking place online is you have to be physically in Nevada to play online poker in the state. Why not play the WSOP as it was intended if you’ve to physically be in Nevada?

There isn’t enough time to pass legislation to allow all the United States to share traffic with Nevada. This can’t and won’t happen any time soon, not even on a temporary basis.

The only viable options are to play the 2020 WSOP as intended or cancel it until next year. The latter seems to most likely, unfortunately.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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