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The World Series of Poker kicks off at the end of the month. With citizens of more than 30 countries restricted from traveling into the US without a 14-day quarantine, and the Delta variant on the rise, staying home and watching the action from afar is looking like a good idea for a lot of poker fans.
To that end, the content service PokerGO just released its WSOP streaming schedule. In the streams, viewers will see 26 live gold bracelet events and “the 2021 WSOP Main Event from start to finish – for the first time ever.”
The WSOP Main Event will be streamed in its entirety, running from Nov. 4 to 17. The last two of those will be the final table. Since the entire tournament is taking place in November, there’s no need for the WSOP to decide between proceeding straight to the final table, or pause before reconvening the traditional November Nine.
US online poker and land-based tournaments are different beasts, but often have crossover on the WSOP app. PokerGO President Mori Eskandani may be right about his Sept. 9 prediction that virtual attendance will be high.
Eskandani said he expects millions of poker players and fans to tune into the 36 days of live programming during this WSOP, which is “the most exciting time on the poker calendar.”
Kicking off a little more than two weeks from now, the WSOP will provide more than a month of entertainment. From Sept. 30 to Nov. 17, PokerGO’s schedule is as follows, per its Sept. 9 announcement:
Online Poker Report’s sister site, US Poker, ran a story today quoting Eskandani:
“Unmasking the players was welcome news to our team,” he said. “Seeing and hearing the players clearly makes for a much better production.”
This will be an unusual year for the WSOP in a lot of ways.
First of all, the global aspect of the world’s most famous poker series may feel a bit subdued. Nearly 3 million Chinese citizens are on lockdown due to a new Delta variant Covid outbreak, according to today’s Times. However, China itself was already on the restricted travel list put out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC lists travelers from China, India and large swathes of Europe – including the UK, as either having their voyages to the US suspended or restricted due to Covid concerns. That, of course, limits the likelihood of WSOP players hailing from those countries.
Once in Las Vegas, though, poker players and fans will need to be vaccinated to enter the series’ venue, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. According to a WSOP press release from Aug. 26, all participants, spectators, press and vendors “will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
No one will be able to enter without immunizations that are at least 14 days old.
Still, many poker fans who might normally attend in-person may choose to watch PokerGO instead, as the Wall Street Journal reported today that Covid-related deaths are “hitting working-age people hard.” Specifically, unvaccinated Americans aged 55 and younger are dying at the rates of last winter’s coronavirus surge.
Even if coronavirus is no longer an issue in 2022, WSOP fans may still feel unsettled. Rumors abound that the series will have to move – and it’s uncertain if that will be to Bally’s Las Vegas or another home. Plus, whatever home it is in 2022 may not be permanent.
So for now, 2021 WSOP players, fans and associated professionals may be happy to watch the action unfold – in-person or on PokerGO.