All 2021 WSOP Players Will Have to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19

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Posted by: Ivan

The 2021 World Series of Poker is scheduled to take place September 30 – November 23 at the Rio in Las Vegas. The organizers seem dedicated to making the event happen, but the coronavirus threat is far from over. Thus, WSOP has recently made an important announcement that all players wanting to register for this year's series will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the Friday press release, WSOP officials have explained in detail what this rule means. Players will need to be vaccinated to be able to register for any of the bracelet poker tournaments. Players are only considered fully vaccinated if they had received two doses (where required, depending on the shot type) and if two weeks had elapsed from the second jab.

Creating a Safe & Comfortable Environment for Everyone

The matter of COVID-19 vaccines has been surrounded by a lot of controversy. However, according to WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, the latest decision hasn't been made lightly, and there is no secret agenda behind it.

The WSOP simply strives to provide a safe and secure environment for all the players who decide to join the series.

Prior to this, the organizers have come up with Rule 115, which caused some stir in the community. According to this rule, any player found to be in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus would have to be removed. Obviously, this wasn't an ideal solution, and the organizers kept looking for alternatives.

With the new policy in place, Rule 115 will not be required. According to CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated persons don't need to quarantine even if they happen to be in close contact with someone infected by a coronavirus, so there will be no need for removal of players.

WSOP 2021 requiring players to be vaccinated

Of course, in the unlikely event a vaccinated player still gets sick, they’ll need to quarantine individually, but this will help prevent situations where large groups of players would potentially have to be removed from the competition.

Players will only need to present the proof of vaccination once. Their details will then be entered into the system, and they'll be able to freely register for any future events without any additional obstacles.

For the US players, there is a mobile app they can utilize to quickly upload their vaccine cards and make the process as seamless as possible. Players from the rest of the world will have to go through the manual verification process, and their relevant vaccination documents will be checked at the Belize room before registering for the first event.

It’s worth mentioning that the mask mandate is still on in Nevada, so if that doesn’t change by the time the WSOP 2021 starts, all players and the staff at the Rio will also need to wear face masks while at the tables.

Mixed Reactions from the Community

As expected, the latest WSOP decision split the poker community. A majority seems to be supportive of the new rule as it seems like the most reasonable thing to do in light of the situation. Requiring all players are vaccinated will go a long way towards increasing the safety of everyone who travels to Las Vegas later this year.

There are still those who believe the WSOP is jumping the gun with this year’s series and that it shouldn’t take place at all. The fact is that the pandemic is still far from over, and those in this group believe that having thousands of people in a single venue can only make the situation worse.

But one question some players are asking is: why isn’t natural immunity considered for the purposes of registration?

Those who had COVID-19 in the past certainly have some level of immunity against the disease. Scientific studies, however, are inconclusive as to how long the natural immunity lasts and how effective it is in comparison to the vaccine.

It’s not a great situation to be in whichever way you look at it, so it seems the WSOP decided to take the simple route and only allow vaccinated people. This will definitely deter some people, but it might also attract some who were on the fence because the risk of playing was too high.

What is your take on this decision? Do you believe WSOP is doing the right thing here, or maybe you believe that the event shouldn't take place at all this year? Let us know in the comments!

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