As the controversial Rule 115 had the entire poker community buzzing earlier this month, the World Series of Poker finally put talks to rest last Friday. The renowned brand issued an official press release announcing that attendees for this year’s live festivities must provide a full proof of vaccination against Covid-19 prior to registration. According to policy, an individual is only considered fully vaccinated after fourteen days of receiving the last recommended dosage.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly–it is made with no agenda beyond protecting player eligibility and the operations of a unique televised gaming event,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director.
“The nature of poker is to be in close proximity with your opponents for extended periods of time, and a seat at the World Series of Poker is a commitment for both our company and the participants. We want players to be excited for their return to the WSOP, while offering the greatest level of protection and limiting complications during the tournament this fall.”
2021’s annual festival features a full schedule of 88 bracelet events beginning September 30 through November 23 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. With the policy in effect right from Day 1, players are required to present their proofs upon first registration to become eligible to participate in WSOP events. Local attendees can make use of CLEAR’s free mobile app and Health Pass feature while international travelers will be assisted by its on-site center for verification purposes. Additionally, all players and staff remain required to wear masks for the entire duration in compliance with current CDC guidelines and state mandates.
With the rules clarified, WSOP noted that participants “who may have been exposed to a person who has tested positive will not be required to leave the tournament and quarantine if they remain asymptomatic since the time of exposure”, eliminating prior issues of discrimination according to one’s vaccination status. However, some continue to regard the recent ruling to be senseless, while many seem to be in favor of the new requirement as an added layer of protection for all concerned individuals.
Two-time GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen, for one, is clearly unhappy with WSOP’s decision and proudly shares with fans his firm stand on boycotting this “mistake”.
“The lack of sense behind this blanket statement rule is a sad sign of what’s to come. If this pandemic is so deadly, why are we having a WSOP at all? If the vaccines are so effective, why is there a concern around other’s vaccination status?”, Foxen noted in his Twitter thread.
It’s really unfortunate to see the @WSOP become the next arm of pharmaceutical influence. Even sadder to see otherwise rational people cheer for the medical apartheid. Why ignore natural immunity? Why ignore that the vaccines don’t confer immunity, or prevent you from spreading?
— Alex Foxen (@WAFoxen) August 27, 2021
Well-known figures Tony Dunst, Kitty Kuo, Timothy Reilly and Bart Hanson likewise shared their views across the social media platform.
— TonyDunstTV (@tonydunsttv) August 27, 2021
I like the rule and I am sure this year wsop will be the good one , less players ~
If u don’t like rule- no need to play
Just pass this time , don’t need to argue the rule, they r the house, they make a house rule ! https://t.co/am5kFnDsi9
— kitty kuo (@kittykuopoker) August 28, 2021
Whether or not you agree w this policy I hope we can all agree that anyone forging vax docs should receive a lifetime ban from all WSOP properties, be insta DQed from any ongoing tournament + have any pre-registration of future events nullified and have those buy-ins confiscated https://t.co/MGb0Dv8eYr
— Bart Hanson (@BartHanson) August 27, 2021
2003 Main Event champion, Chris Moneymaker, who previously had plans of missing this year’s events is currently rethinking his decision and has noted a “higher likelihood” he will come and play.
— Chris Moneymaker ⭕ (@CMONEYMAKER) August 27, 2021
Regardless of where everybody stands on the vaccination rule, at least things now are clear and certain for everyone involved. Whether you are presently vaccinated or unvaccinated, there is still enough time to get those jabs in should you choose to.
Stay tuned to Somuchpoker for the latest news and updates regarding the upcoming 52nd edition WSOP.