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World Series of Poker announces tentative dates for fall

The World Series of Poker is planning a full in-person schedule for later this year.

The WSOP has set tentative dates for Sept. 30 to Nov. 23 at the Rio, including the Main Event, the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship.

The WSOP Europe is planned for Nov. 19 to Dec. 8 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The WSOP Online will also return starting July 1 on WSOP.com.

The flagship WSOP in Las Vegas and WSOP Europe were canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The WSOP Online was held in its place over the summer, and a hybrid online/live Main Event was held in December and January.

“In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said in a statement.

WSOP officials caution that all dates are tentative and subject to regulatory approval based on the state of coronavirus restrictions in the fall. No decision has been made on the number of players allowed at each table, whether the tables will have plexiglass dividers or other restrictions live poker players have dealt with during the pandemic.

The Main Event is planned for Nov. 4 to 17 with four starting days. Last year’s hybrid Main Event attracted 1,379 combined entrants from the separate U.S. and international fields. International champion Damian Salas of Argentina eventually defeated U.S. champion Joseph Hebert heads-up live at the Rio, earning a total of $2.55 million.

WSOP officials said they were pleased with the number of entrants given the circumstances, but the prize pool was a sharp decline from the live Main Event in 2019, when Germany’s Hossein Ensan beat a field of 8,569 to earn $10 million.

The opening weekend of the WSOP is expected to include a charity event to benefit frontline health care workers, a $25,000 HORSE event (a mix of five poker games) and a No-limit Hold’em event with a guaranteed $5 million prize pool dubbed “The Reunion.”

The full schedule will be released this summer, officials said.

The WSOP Online debuted last summer to fill the void left by the postponement of the flagship WSOP, and 85 gold bracelets were awarded in two separate series, one for U.S. players on WSOP.com and another for international players on GGPoker. The WSOP Online Main Event on GGPoker set a record for the largest online poker tournament with a $27.5 million prize pool.

This year’s U.S. version of the WSOP Online will start July 1 on WSOP.com and end with a $1,000 No-limit Hold’em Championship. The full schedule will be released April 15, and information on the international version will follow later, officials said. Because of U.S. online poker laws, the world cannot play together online.

The WSOP Europe is expected to include 15 bracelet events, including a 10,000-euro buy-in Main Event and a 50,000-euro High Roller event.

“We hope and anticipate travel restrictions will ease by the fall,” Stewart said. “It’s important to us that we have an excellent tournament schedule available to our European players.”

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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