WSOP DRAMA: Upeshka De Silva Will Miss Main Event Final Table After Positive COVID Test; $1M Duel Possibly Delayed

December 28, 2020
WSOP DRAMA: Upeshka De Silva Will Miss Main Event Final Table After Positive COVID Test; $1M Duel Possibly Delayed

The World Series or Poker $10,000 Main Event has seen some interesting twists. That continued on Monday just hours before the US half of the series was set to take place.

News came to light Sunday night that Upeshka De Silva wouldn’t be playing due to a positive COVID-19 test. After qualifying in eighth online at, he now receives ninth-place money for $98,813.

The news threw another wrinkle into the revamped 2020 Main Event that already offered a unique online/live hybrid. The international half of the event played out on GGPoker with a final table at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic.

Left out of the WSOP Main Event

Coming into the final table, De Silva was one of the most experienced players in the field. He has three WSOP bracelets and $3.1 million in live tournament winnings.

Podcaster and streamer Joey Ingram reported the disqualification on Sunday night after being contacted by De Silva.


De Silva said he tested negative on a PCR nasal swab test on Dec. 26. However, the official mouth swab PCR test at the Rio on Dec. 27 came back positive. He noted that he’d been taking precautions and been in quarantine before the event.

End of the road in Main Event quest

The ninth-place finish no doubt comes as a huge disappointment for De Silva. The final table offers a chance at winning poker’s biggest event, but also comes with a $1.55 million payout.

The winner earns a shot at a heads-up duel with the international winner for an added $1 million. That winner is also crowned the Main Event champion.

The international half at King’s Casino also featured only eight players. Chinese player Peiyuan Sun declined to make the trip for the final table. He won $75,360 for ninth place.

The heads-up portion of the Main Event may also be affected by other COVID-related news. Latin American poker news site Codigo Poker reports Argentina’s Damian Salas was denied an exception to travel to the US.

That has now possibly moved the heads-up match to Jan. 2 and adds to the questions surrounding the event. When originally announcing the event, WSOP officials noted that plans could be altered considering the current pandemic.

As in the Sun case, tournament details said those who couldn’t play would receive a ninth-place payout. The heads-up matchup may still be in doubt, and no concrete details have been announced yet.

An added poker letdown for De Silva

This isn’t the first COVID-related final table alteration for De Silva. He qualified for the final table in the World Poker Tour’s LA Poker Classic in March.

Upeshka De Silva (photo courtesy WPT)

The final table was to be filmed at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas. However, that event along with the Borgata Winter Poker Open and Gardens Poker Championship have also been delayed.

Players took to Twitter offering possible solutions. Some suggested the other eight players refuse to play until De Silva was able to compete. Ingram’s ideas included playing the final table completely online or until De Silva busts.

Those ideas seem unlikely and the event more than likely will continue on Monday. The heads-up duel’s status remains unknown at this time however. ESPN will be filming both events for a later broadcast on the network.

USPoker will continue to update this story as more details emerge.

For a look at the story of GGPoker’s $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event winner Stoyan Madanzhiev, click here.

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