This fall, two Las Vegas poker rooms will close temporarily for the 2021 World Series of Poker.
Flamingo Las Vegas and Bally’s posted the news on the Bravo poker app that their poker rooms will be closed between September 26 and November 26, 2021. Both properties are owned by Caesars Entertainment, and WSOP.com is a division of Caesars. It appears the move was taken to encourage people to go to the Rio Convention Center to participate in the World Series of Poker.
The WSOP at the Rio Convention Center will feature satellite games, cash games, daily deep stack tournaments, and bracelet events.
Card Dealer Shortage in Las Vegas
For at least a month, rumors were flying that Caesars would close its Las Vegas poker rooms so that the dealers could work the WSOP.
Casinos across Las Vegas have experienced staffing issues due to the layoffs during the Covid-19 shutdowns. Many laid-off employees were unable to collect unemployment in a timely manner; they found other jobs, and have not returned to the casinos.
Also, as Las Vegas casinos were allowed to reopen last May, many casinos chose to keep their poker rooms closed. Obviously, any dealers who had worked those rooms were out of a job and needed to find work elsewhere.
For example, MGM chose not to reopen the poker rooms at Excalibur and the Mirage. MGM eventually opened the poker rooms at Mandalay Bay, but with reduced capacity and shorter hours. That means most of the poker dealers working at those properties were out of a job.
Caesars ultimately decided to keep the poker rooms at Planet Hollywood and the Rio closed; currently, the only open Caesars poker rooms are at Caesars Palace, Bally’s, and the Flamingo.
The Flamingo has 11 poker tables and Bally’s has 14. Finally, Caesars Palace has 18 tables. The dealers from Flamingo and Bally’s are slated to work at the Rio for the WSOP.
The 2021 World Series of Poker
The plans for this year’s epic WSOP include eighty-eight live events beginning on Thursday, Sept. 30, and running through Tuesday, Nov. 23.
The Main Event is an epic $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship. The cavernous Rio Convention Center will once again host all of the WSOP tournaments, including every popular variation of poker on the planet.
Let’s take a look at just some of the highlights of the month-long WSOP.
The fun kicks off on October 1, with the $500 “The Reunion” event featuring a $5,000,000 Guaranteed prize pool.
Every Friday and Saturday, players can look forward to Return of the Record Breakers No-Limit Hold’em events.
On October 5, 64 elite players will vie for $25,000 in the Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship.
Don’t miss the Poker Hall of Fame Bounty on November 17. This event pays homage to Poker Hall of Fame inductees. Living Hall of Famers will be there to freeroll into a $1,979 No-Limit Hold’em tournament open to all registered players. Each Hall of Fame player will have a bounty comparable to the year they made it into the Poker Hall of Fame. Best of all, the 2021 Poker Hall of Fame inductee will be announced after the WSOP event.
Caesars is offering WSOP bracelet event participants special reduced room rates at their Las Vegas properties. By booking early, participants can get rooms for as low as $47 on selected dates with the booking code “WSOPM”. This offer is valid at Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, the Flamingo, Paris Las Vegas, Harrah’s, The Linq, and Bally’s.
Only Fully-Vaccinated Players May Participate
However, to participate in the WSOP, players must be over 21 years of age. Also, before registration, they must provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For participants to be considered “fully vaccinated” their final vaccine dose must have been received at least 14 days before the WSOP. This requirement applies to every live-action WSOP bracelet event, satellites, side events, and cash games. Only a limited number of fully vaccinated spectators will be allowed.
Please be aware that in the interest of health and public safety, the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino can change any of the Official WSOP Tournament Rules. These modifications include, but are not limited to, additional vaccine requirements, testing, and screening to participate in the World Series of Poker.
Unfortunately, The Governor of Nevada issued State of Nevada Emergency Directive 050, which specifically states that medical and religious exemptions will not be honored.
Moreover, players can remove their masks while seated and playing at the poker tables. But, in compliance with Rio’s health and safety policies, WSOP players are masked whenever they are away from their poker table for any and all reasons.