It's always tough to fully staff the World Series of Poker with dealers, floor people, and support staff. Heck, even the biggest members of poker media often had to scrounge up chip counters via Craig's List and some outlets hired unexperienced bloggers to fill in the gaps in coverage. However, in the era of COVID with the Delta variant running amok in America, the suits at the WSOP took a major league forward by requiring all participants must be vaccinated if they wanted to compete in a bracelet event. Then they took a couple steps backward after removing a mask mandate for players.
The optional mask rule would not be as big of a deal if the suits at the WSOP required all staff members -- both on and off the gaming floor -- to be vaccinated and wear masks. Due to the shortage of workers in both Las Vegas and in America in general, it's been difficult to staff up a full roster of dealers and floor people. As a result, the suits running the WSOP had to loosen their employment requirements and allow unvaccinated workers to join their WSOP labor force. In a statement, the WSOP said they strongly encouraged all employees to get the vaccine, but stopped short of making it a full requirement.
In the past, I've seen scores of dealers quit during the series for multiple reasons. As a result, the replacements are not as qualified and inferior. They lack experience and are often rejects from other casinos all over America. Some are fresh out of dealing school from around the corner at the Rio. But that was in the era of pre-COVID. A potential outbreak within the dealers room or inside the staff will be a public health, public relations, and overall disaster.
But the show must go on, right? The gears of capitalism will continue to crus anyone in their path whether they're vaccinated or not. But the WSOP are freaking out about potential low player turnout and even smaller pool of dealers and other workers this year.
It's an impending shitshow and there's no shortage of vaccinated players and pros who are considering skipping the 2021 WSOP at the Rio in Las Vegas because of the latest loosey goosey rue change.
For more info, visit the WSOP.
The 2021 WSOP begins at the Rio in Las Vegas on September 30 and runs through November 23.