Breaking Down the Action:
  • How the Announcement Was Made
  • What is on Offer?
  • Heading Online and Into Europe

For many players, it is the news that they have been desperate to hear. The World Series of Poker had no live summer series in 2020, but while that is still true in 2021, the WSOP is merely moving a few months, as it will make a sensational return to the Rio between September 30th and November 23rd this year.

How the Announcement Was Made

The idea of a summer World Series of Poker in Las Vegas was always likely to be onto a loser in terms of a race. COVID-19 has debilitated live poker to the extent that a race against time to vaccinate as many people as would be needed to make the Series viable.

As the World Series of Poker announced on their website, “This year, more than ever, we embrace our role at the WSOP to deliver memorable experiences and bring this community of poker lovers back together,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “In 2021, the theme is ‘Get vaccinated and get back to Vegas’.”

Short of checking where and when they’ll be able to get their shot and begin preparations for an Autumn World Series of Poker rather than a summer one, we’re interested to see exactly what number the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino brings in from the end of September. Although previous years have gone with tradition and opened the action with an event specifically tailored to casino employees, this time, the opening weekend looks to feature a tournament that will donate money to frontline health workers and a $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. event.

What is on Offer?

There are several tournaments which will see players licking their lips in anticipation at the chances of becoming a poker millionaire.  With a $5 million guaranteed no-limit hold’em event labelled ‘The Reunion’ and a wealth of mixed games likely to pack the schedule, the biggest draw will, as ever, be the $10,000-entry WSOP Main Event.

The Main Event runs from Thursday November 4th to Wednesday November 17th, with a total of four starting flights from Bonfire Night onwards. Players from the first two starting flights will play their WSOP Day 2 on Monday November 8th and anyone who makes it through their Day 1 on either of the final two flights will take to the felt for their Day 2 on Wednesday November 10th.

While the dates are confirmed, the conditions are less so at present. While the current situation in Las Vegas casinos is one of plexi-glass dividers and face masks, it’s as yet unclear exactly what the situation will be for players travelling to Sin City in September or beyond. It is expected that several COVID-19 protocols will need to be followed and WSOP officials say that they’ll ‘work with gaming regulators and state officials to ensure player safety’, but what this means, we don’t yet know.

One thing that is assured is the shot in the arm that this will provide Las Vegas itself, with hotel bookings likely to be available cheaper than ever before in Nevada during the series. With no summer bump and a race against time to get as many players to Vegas as possible, players will expect to be able to snap up cut-price deals.

Two years ago, it was Hossein Ensan who won the WSOP Main Event for a massive £10 million top prize.

Heading Online and Into Europe

It’s not just the live WSOP in Las Vegas that players can look forward to. There is an online WSOP coming to poker players’ laptop or tablet this summer too. Last year, the WSOP gave away almost $27 million in winnings while GGPoker did the same for just one event, with almost $150 won by players across the series as a whole.

While some players will take part in the WSOP.com events from America, there are expected to be way more who travel out of the U.S. States where online poker isn’t permitted to participate in the GGPoker section of the festival.

WSOP Europe returns too, with 15 bracelet events taking shape at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, on the Czech/German border from Friday November 19th to Tuesday December 8th subject to regulatory approval.

“We hope and anticipate travel restrictions will ease by the fall,” said Ty Stewart. “It’s important to us that we have an excellent tournament schedule available to our European players.”

“We hope and anticipate travel restrictions will ease by the fall,” said Stewart. “It’s important to us that we have an excellent tournament schedule available to our European players.”

With the return of the World Series of Poker to Las Vegas and both Online and European formats sure to welcome hundreds of thousands of players, poker is on the up both at home and abroad in 2021.

Want more? Don’t miss out—stay up to date on the latest poker news.

Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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