For the first time in its 50-year history, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas will not be held during the summer – Instead, the 2020 WSOP has been postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In a press release issued on April 20 by WSOP.com, Ty Stewart – who serves as executive director of the WSOP – confirmed the historic postponement of poker’s premier tournament series:
“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.
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.”
WSOP Hopes to Replace Live Events with Online Play for Now
According to the statement, WSOP organizers are targeting the “fall of 2020” for a resumption of the series originally scheduled to run from May 27 to July 14, in a change of plans since the 2020 WSOP has been postponed.
The initial schedule released for the 2020 WSOP offered a record-high 101 official gold bracelet events, including 14 tournaments held online in Nevada and New Jersey via the regulated WSOP.com platform.
As he alluded to in the press release, Stewart expects to spend the summer months hosting an expanded schedule of online / mobile WSOP gold bracelet events. Five days before the Las Vegas series was postponed, the WSOP announced a partnership with the globally facing GGPoker online / mobile network.
In conjunction with GGPoker, the WSOP will replace its WSOP-Circuit schedule in May – which like every other live poker event was also cancelled in light of coronavirus fears – with a three-week online / mobile series.
“We’re thrilled to partner with an operator on the rise who is both aggressive and passionate about growing poker engagement around the world,” said Stewart.
“It was unfortunate that we were forced to cancel so many offline WSOP Circuit events this Spring, but with vast reach GGPoker plans to dwarf the prize pools of the suspended events all at once in one truly Super WSOP Circuit.”
Pro Players Speak Out in Support of Public Safety Over Summer Play
Asked about the 2020 WSOP proper’s postponement, Daniel Negreanu – a six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner who left industry leader PokerStars last year to sign a sponsorship deal with GGPoker – told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he fully expected the series to be delayed in the name of public health:
“At this point, it wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of when. There’s no social distancing in poker. You’re using the same cards and chips, sitting around a table for 10, 12 hours a day.”
At this point, it wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of when. There’s no social distancing in poker. You’re using the same cards and chips, sitting around a table for 10, 12 hours a day.
Henderson, Nevada resident Garry Gates – who finished in fourth place at last year’s WSOP Main Event to earn $3 million – also expressed his support for the postponement in an interview with KTNV-TV:
“In terms of poker, when you’re sitting there for ten hours a day and passing the same chips and cards among people sitting in close proximity with each other, it’s the exact type of environment that would lead to spreading this type of virus.
So I think they made the right call and I think everyone will be that much more excited when we finally get to play when they do reschedule.”