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WSOP Finally Returns to Live Events

WSOP New Gold Bracelet for 2021

The annual series of poker tournaments held in Las Vegas, regarded as the largest and most prestigious poker event in the world, the World Series of Poker is finally back to live, in-person events, after nearly one year of online tournaments. Consisting of over 100 events featuring most of the major poker variants, the WSOP is also known for breaking several records, and in 2019, the last year to feature a full live schedule, the series reported an astounding 187,298 participants and almost $300 million in prize money.

The WSOP 2021 schedule, which was announced in June, features the return of live, in-person competitions and events, including the distinguished Main Event, the $10,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em World Championship. The 2021 season kicked off last week, on September 30, with a number of bracelet events taking place in Las Vegas. The series will run through November, with the Main Event scheduled to take place on November 4, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

In 2020, the World Series of Poker was forced to adjust to a hybrid format, due to lockdowns, closures and health protocols imposed by government authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, several tournaments and bracelet events were held online, leading the WSOP to create, in partnership with GGPoker, new Gold Bracelet online tournaments for the 2021 season.

“When GGPoker and WSOP partnered in 2020, we broke world records,” said Steve Preiss, head of poker operations at GGPoker. “Our plans for 2021 are to offer even more, with massive tournaments, WSOP Gold Bracelets and rings, and a route into the live WSOP Main Event in November, we hope players will love what the 2021 WSOP has in store for them.”

Moneymaker Out

Chris Moneymaker

One of the most successful players in poker history and an exponent of online poker, Chris Moneymaker announced in August his withdrawal from the 2021 World Series of Poker. On a social media account, Moneymaker stated as one of his reasons that he didn’t want to risk bringing the virus home, with his nine-year-old child being unable to be vaccinated.

“I decided to skip the WSOP Main Event when I learned that even vaccinated people could shed the virus. If I go to the WSOP, I will most certainly be exposed to the virus,” posted the Poker Hall of Famer. “I was looking to live poker in general. Before the Delta variant, I started to play live locally again and added some stops live to my schedule. That is all gone for the foreseeable future.”

It’s clear that the poker world owes a lot to Moneymaker. If today, millions of players around the world play poker online, and we’re even able to play the game in real-time with live dealers, it’s much thanks to Chris Moneymaker, who became the first player to win the World Series of Poker after qualifying from an online satellite tournament - one of the factors that contributed to the poker boom in the mid-2000s.

2021 Live Tournaments

After more than one year of online poker, players and poker enthusiasts can finally celebrate the return of the most famous poker tournament series in the world with live, in-person action. The 2021 season kicked off last week, on September 30, and the opening weekend featured a few bracelet events, and even special charity events to aid frontline health workers, including a $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. and a $5 million GTD No-Limit Hold ‘em.

The Main Event is scheduled to start on November 4, with the final table being held on November 17. To comply with capacity limitations imposed by the state of Nevada, players will be allowed to choose from four starting dates, and the organization expects all play to be concluded on November 23. Apart from the capacity limit, the WSOP adhered to all directives issued by the state, including social distancing.

“We are thrilled to be reopening our venues and optimistic about future offline events,” said Ty Stewart, executive director of the World Series of Poker. “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. In 2021, the theme is ‘get vaccinated and get back to Vegas’”.

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