Monday, April 20, 2020 | 8:45 p.m.
The World Series of Poker will not be held over the summer in Las Vegas for the first time in 16 years, but tournament organizers are still determined to stage the event for a 51st consecutive year.
Ty Stewart, executive director of the WSOP, announced the coronavirus-prompted postponement of poker’s biggest annual gathering in a statement Monday afternoon. The series was slated to run May 26-July 15 at the Rio and include around 90 championship tournaments spread across different variants of poker.
Rescheduling efforts are being concentrated to the fall, on to-be-determined dates.
“We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” Stewart said in the statement. “In the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer, and we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes.”
The World Series of Poker had already shifted several circuit events to an online format. Players responded in record-setting fashion with virtual tables having stayed full ever since the pandemic first caused widespread shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
Not all planned tournaments for the summer are guaranteed to be rescheduled, but the announcement ensured the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, considered poker’s world championship, would be included. Hossein Ensan, a 55-year-old from Munster, Germany, won last year’s Main Event, beating out 8,568 other players to win $10 million.
Caesars Entertainment moved the WSOP to the summer in 2005 after acquiring Binion’s Horseshoe, the event’s original parent company and host side, the year before. The WSOP had previously taken place at different times of the year, most commonly in May.