Get ready for full-fledged degen action returning to the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. The Rio was the last of the Caesars operated or owned casinos to return to its full power. Last March, the Rio shut its doors when Governor Sisolak shuttered all casinos in the state of Nevada to stop the spread of coronavirus. Some casinos returned in 2020, while others remained closed. By the start of 2021, majority of casinos in Las Vegas opened with capacity restrictions, but some casinos were still not accepting weekday reservations.
But the Rio is back! It will return to 24/7 operations and accepting reservations for all seven days, not just the weekend. This also includes all of their eateries and bars. Yes, the glorious Hooker Bar returns. I assume hookers will have to wear masks? If you're a fan of massive-sized breakfast, then you're in luck because the Hash House A Go Go returns. The All American Bar and Grille will also reopen, and that was a popular dining establishment for many WSOP denizens. Oh, and great news if you're looking to get your coffee fix because Starbucks will reopen all their spots inside the Rio, especially by the bank of elevators so you won't have to step far into the casino floor to get your caffeine fix.
Last year, the 2020 World Series of Poker was postponed and the powers that be hoped they could host something later on in the year. However, in the meantime they pivoted online and hosted bracelet events at WSOP.com for Americans and at GGPoker for international players. When the autumn rolled around, the pandemic was still raging in the USA, so there was no live-version of the WSOP.
Late in 2020, the WSOP shocked everyone when the suits and big wigs decided to host a $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event Championship. The controversial move sent the poker community into an uproar and included weird format with two pools of players fighting themselves in a hybrid online/live setting. Americans slugged it out at WSOP.com until they got down to a final table and then migrated to the Rio to play down to a champion. In the international leg, Main Event players slugged it out at GGPoker and they migrated the final table to a live setting at the King's Casino in RozVegas. The two winners were scheduled to meet at the Rio with the heads-up winner dubbed the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion.
A travel and customs snafu meant that the actual heads-up match was delayed and played out in the first week of January 2021. When the dust settled, Damian Salas from Argentina emerged as the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion.
The 2021 WSOP will not run this summer, but the organizers will host a live WSOP at the Rio Casino this fall. The WSOP said they will announce a summer online series on both WSOP.com and GGPoker again. Yup, get ready for more controversial online bracelet events. Better than nothing, eh?