Predictions for the 2021 World Series of Poker
This is normally the time of year we start discussing the upcoming World Series of Poker. However, with the global pandemic still ongoing, there’s some doubt whether we will have a live version of the 2021 World Series of Poker.
Now is as good a time as any to discuss a potential 2021 WSOP. So today, we give our predictions as to the future of the 2021 World Series of Poker.
Option 1 – The 2021 World Series of Poker Online
Last year, WSOP officials decided to move the World Series of Poker online. Events were split between WSOP.com in Nevada and GGPoker for international players. The event ran for months and was surprisingly well received. The WSOP did the best with what they had and some feel that repeat is in the cards in 2021.
If anything, we believe that this is the default stance for the WSOP in 2021. Likely, officials are already making plans for the second running of the WSOP Online and keeping a close eye on global case numbers and the progress of global vaccinations.
Option 2 – Live and Online Hybrid
The next option will be a hybrid live and online WSOP. We aren’t talking about what the WSOP did with the Main Event, but rather a hybrid for bracelet events. What we could see happening is that all mega-field events, basically those under $5,000, will be held online.
For events $5,000 and up, we could see those events played out live in Las Vegas. So all of the $10k Championship Events, $50k Poker Player’s Championship, and High Roller events play out at the Rio.
The Main Event would likely be a hybrid live and online event with the final tables being played live as was the case in 2020.
Option 3 – Live WSOP With Restrictions
Another potential option depending on how vaccination numbers go is a live WSOP but with restrictions. The restrictions may be a limit on field sizes, a limit to only players that can prove they have been vaccinated, or strict adherence to a mask and social distancing.
Another potential option for a live WSOP would be to hold large field opening flights online and then play Day 2 or the final table in a live setting.
Option 4 – Live WSOP With Minimal Restrictions
The least likely option that we will see this summer is a live WSOP in Las Vegas with minimal restrictions. We won’t see one with zero restrictions, so don’t even try and suggest that. By minimal restrictions, we mean that players will be required to wear masks and attempt to adhere to social distancing. Also, there may be a limit on spectators at the Rio, if not an outright ban. If spectators are allowed, they will be required to adhere to social distancing policies.
We think that this is the least likely option because this opens up some major risk. Get one person at the Rio that’s infected and events could be shut down for days or even a week. What happens if a COVID-positive player goes to a final table in a 3,000 player event? It could shut down the series. As such, we don’t see this as being a viable option for this year.
WSOP Will Likely Announce Mid-March
Based on what we saw last year, we expect that the WSOP will let us know something by mid to late March about what to expect from the WSOP. Some would argue that they will wait until May, but the WSOP will need time to make preparations for whatever option they select.
If we were to bet money on this, we would bet on a return of the WSOP online with a hybrid WSOP Main Event. That would be the safest way to do things. Odds are that by the time next year, the pandemic will be effectively over and we can go back to playing a live WSOP in Las Vegas.