Yup, the 2020 World Series of Poker will not begin at the end of May as originally scheduled. The Rio Casino and Hotel is still shuttered while the coronavirus pandemic ravages the United States and the rest of the world. The WSOP joins numerous other sporting events and cultural events to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Major sporting affairs such as the Masters, and Kentucky Derby have been rescheduled for the fall, while something like the March Madness basketball tournament got cancelled outright.
You can add the annual World Series of Poker to the growing list of sporting events in America that were wiped out due to the coronavirus. The good news is that it is not cancelled completely... yet. And there will be some online events at WSOP.com that will be available for lucky foes in lockdown in Nevada and New Jersey.
According to said head suit and WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, "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. In the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer, and we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through partnerships with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes."
Last month when all the major sports leagues in the US and around the world shut down, Seth Palansky said that the WSOP would be waiting to make an official announcement in early May. The news dropped on the headiest of days on April 20. But many in the know found out last week the series would be postponed, and those not in know pretty much assumed the inevitable.
Just last week, the Tour de France organizers announced that the 2020 race will be postponed until September. That seems to be the popular date in a lot of minds, but the stark and sober reality is that no one really knows what will happen six days from now, let alone six weeks, or even six months. For now, you simply operate on a day-to-day basis and pray for the best.
In the case of the World Series of Poker, there's so many other factors involved before they figure out what to do with the series if/when they eventually run it.
The 2020 WSOP initially scheduled 101 bracelet events at the Rio and online at the WSOP.com virtual poker room. The propaganda wing at the WSOP had been slowly teasing out the 2020 schedule during the first couple of months of the year.
The 2020 World Series of Poker seemed sorta of jinxed before the year even began. For one, it would be the 51st version of the WSOP. Last summer was the 50th anniversary and the WSOP had another successful year. Everyone loves big anniversary and milestones. The 50th anything is a big friggin deal any way you cut it. The WSOP definitely got a lot of love last summer from major news and sporting outlets due to its half-century birthday celebration. But now, the 51st running of the donks doesn't have the same sex appeal as the 50th.
Then there were the rumors about the Rio's sale and the future of the WSOP. The rumors were true and the Rio was sold for $516 million, but the WSOP would not be going anywhere... at least for the next two summers. With a new convention center ready to open by Caesars, it seemed like the logical location and future home of the WSOP.
For a while there were rumors about a group wanting an MLB franchise in Las Vegas wanted to build a new baseball stadium where the Rio was located. Minor league baseball had become a big hit in Sin City and the addition of the Las Vegas Knights hockey team with its arena on the Strip made Vegas a hockey destination with its first major sporting team. The Oakland Raiders moved away from NoCal to Las Vegas, who built a new stadium from the bad boys of the NFL. With pro hockey and pro football in Vegas, why not baseball?
Another rumor suggested the Rio would be sold and imploded to develop a new train station that would become a main stop for a highspeed rail from California.