The move comes as the Coronavirus pandemic has left Las Vegas casinos a virtual ghost town. That includes the Rio All-Suites Casino and Hotel, home to the WSOP since 2005.
The series was set to run from May 27 to July 15, but now that has been delayed. An exact date wasn’t announced on Monday. The number of events may also be altered as part of the postponement.
“The 2020 WSOP schedule will be revisited as a result of the postponement, and changes are anticipated,” WSOP news release noted. “Once details for the revised 2020 WSOP are finalized, plans will be communicated.”
Details on WSOP this summer emerge
Running the WSOP during its usual summer slot certainly seemed unlikely during the current environment. Organizers scheduled 101 events this summer: 87 live events and 14 online.
Speculation ranged from a complete cancellation to postponement to running the entire series at WSOP.com. It appears WSOP owner Caesars Entertainment hopes to salvage the 2020 edition, the 51st running of the 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,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said in a news release.
However, WSOP.com online bracelet events will go on as planned this summer. Stewart also made clear that additional online poker series on WSOP.com are a big part of those plans.
“In the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer,” Stewart noted, “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.”
The WSOP made news last week by signing a deal with GGPoker. The agreement allows GG to run an international version of the Super Circuit Online Series in May. That includes hundreds of events and 18 WSOP Circuit tournaments awarding championship rings.
WSOP online options expanded
With 14 WSOP.com online bracelet options planned for 2020, emphasizing more online options certainly seemed inevitable. Caesars and WSOP officials confirmed that on Monday.
The US online poker market has received a considerable boost recently with so many players at home. That has included record turnout to WSOP.com and other sites as well.
Players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware continue to battle it out this week in the WSOP Spring Online Championships. That should continue this summer during online events if many players are still shut out of live poker.
Not yet known is if the WSOP’s international events will be held in conjunction with new partner GGPoker or 888poker.
The latter has been a longtime WSOP partner and sponsor. 888 also provides software for WSOP.com online poker and partners in a Nevada-New Jersey-Delaware shared liquidity market.
More online options certainly seem popular, but legal US online poker options are limited. Four-time WPT champion Darren Elias spoke with USPoker last week about some of this summer’s WSOP shifting online.
“This would drastically limit the player pool because of geographic restrictions on where you can play from, but would be better than nothing,” he said of his preference for moving much of the series online. “Moving it online also seems like the only thing besides cancellation that the WSOP would be able to commit to anytime soon.
“Even with the restrictions, if they released a solid schedule online I think it would draw well with so many people stuck at home.”
Many players took to social media to express the need for an expanded US online poker footprint.
I think this should be an opportunity to legalize online poker in US, let’s go!!!
— Nate Green (@NateGreen989) April 20, 2020
@WSOPcom online poker needs to go live in Pennsylvania. Build some online momentum for the Fall
— WK (@WilKnicks) April 20, 2020
Firming up dates for upcoming events
Along with the announcement about summer events, WSOP organizers tried to commit to a couple of upcoming events.
The news release noted that the next live event on the WSOP calendar is the Global Casino Championship. The annual event features a $1 million guarantee and is still set for Aug. 11-13 at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.
The Global Championship is an invitation-only tournament. Players can qualify at WSOP Circuit events and that includes online as well.
The WSOP Europe, hosted at King’s Casino Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, also remains on the calendar for fall 2020.
In the new world of a global pandemic, however, everything is subject to change. That includes WSOP events. But many in the poker world will be happy to see action return.