Rumors. Semantics. Tomatoe. Tomato. There's lots of holes in the desert. Apparently the 2020 World Series of Poker is a go at the Rio Casino and Convention Center in Las Vegas for the summer of 2020. And if you're really a nit for details, it's also scheduled for the Rio in 2021 according to Seth Palansky, the head of the WSOP Ministry of Propaganda.
"Can 100% confirm @WSOP will take place at the Rio in Las Vegas in 2020," Palanksy tweeted at @KevMath on Thursday.
Despite rumors that the debt-sullen Caesars put up several of their properties for sale, including the Rio Casino and Convention Center in Las Vegas, players can exhale knowing the World Series of Poker is scheduled at the Rio in 2020. Seth Palansky and the suits at the WSOP let the poker world know that the SHOW MUST GO ON.
For most of 2019, rumors indicated the Rio Casino will be sold to the highest bidder with the new owner(s) intending to implode the casino and convention center and build a new (INSERT: _____ baseball stadium/casino/train station/marijuana farm), then the glorious WSOP will shack up at Caesars new convention space on The Strip. Anyone heading to the 2019 WSOP had a weird feeling they'd be walking the long corridors for the final time.
But those RIP Rio rumors are just hot air because Palansky and company are still organizing the WSOP to be played out at the Rio Casino and Convention Center next summer regardless of rumors and innuendos.
Hey, let's not forget... poker is more sports entertainment than sports. And one of the golden rules of show business is "The show must go on"... not matter what. The folks running the WSOP are continuing business as usual until the chips finally fall where they may.
Will the train junta buy the Rio and implode it to make way for a futuristic transit center to accommodate a highspeed rail from Los Angeles?
Will the MLB people buy the Rio to knock it over and plant grass for a new baseball stadium to attract the Arizona Diamondback or Tampa Rays?
Or will west coast promoter AEG buy the Rio to tear it down and create their version of the MSG Sphere for a new state of the art music venue?
Or will Google or Apple snatch up the Rio and create a mega-campus and oasis for tech nerds?
Will Snoop Dogg and LeBron James buy the land and turn it into the largest marijuana grow on the planet?
"Frankly, KevMath, I don't give a damn!" shrugged off Seth Palansky to the emaciated derelict reporters clinging on for dear life and other poker media plebes.
The show must go on. Who gives a flying fart if it's the train people, or Silicon dorks, or old money scions slumming it in the sporting world? The WSOP will continue to dole out bracelets at the Rio this summer and next summer and probably the summer after that.
By chance the Rio is sold and the new owner decides to implode the sucker, they'll have to wait until all existing contracts and events are completed. If they send in the wrecking crew early, that's when the lawyers get involved and things get really ugly. Hell hath no fury than a couple of stiffs churning out $1,000/hour billable hours.
Big events like the Super Bowl or March Madness or a tour for the Rolling Stones takes years of preparation. Venues like the Hollywood Bowl or Madison Square Garden are booked years in advance to work around existing schedules.
Same goes for the World Series of Poker and other conventions in Las Vegas like the porn convention or RV and snowmobile show. The biggest sporting events like Super Bowl or March Madness have been planned out for several years... some even up to a decade. It's not easy to pull off a small gathering (like say 50 half-baked poker bloggers) let alone a major event like the most prestigious poker series in the universe.
It's a fine line between pulling off a successful event like Coachella or having it turn into a disaster like the Fyre Festival. If we learned anything from the 37 documentaries about Billy Shitbricks and the Fyre Festival fraud, it's that mega-event planning takes time, money, and attention to detail.
Bitch and moan all you want about the WSOP, but they got it dialed in. The WSOP has been one of the biggest money grabs in the short history of the poker industry since leaving dingy downtown for its home at the Rio since 2005.
Despite the ever-changing culture and political waters, the WSOP has still been on top for the last 15 years or so ever since the IRS locked the doors at the old Horseshoe in the early 2000s. At a time when PokerStars is saying goodbye to the PCA, the WSOP is still the biggest and maddest mofo on the block.
And it's not going anywhere.
Seth Palansky, WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communication
I've been here 12 years and there have always been rumors that the Rio is being sold. It doesn't matter. The Rio is our home and that's where we'll be. We're not looking to hold it elsewhere.
According to Palanksy's at-reply to @KevMath on Thursday, the WSOP will be at the Rio next summer.
"Can 100% confirm," tweeted @SethPalansky.
"In the convention business, you have to block out," explained Palansky. "We need 62 days blocked out to be able to hold the event. It's not easy to get 200,000 square feet of convention space. You need years in advance to do that."
Palansky also stated that they're locked in for the next two years.
"The convention space is booked years out. In fact, people should feel confident that the 2021 WSOP will be at the Rio as well."
For now, you can delete those RIP Rio obituaries. There's a party going on at the Rio next summer for the 51st running of the donks with cash and lots of bling up for grabs.