Poker Pros Debate: Should WSOP Organizers Cancel Series Early?

4 min read

Should the 2020 WSOP have already been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic? That is the hottest debate among poker enthusiasts on social media right now. And, like any other hot-button topic (save for Postlegate), there isn’t a general consensus among the poker community.

2020 WSOP cancellation poker
We can all hope to witness a 2020 WSOP Main Event, but we should all brace for reality. (Image:

The 2020 WSOP is scheduled to start on May 26 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. At present, the series is expected to run as planned. Of course, that could change at any moment should the global health crisis take a turn for the worse.

While most poker players on social media appear to agree the series won’t take place as scheduled, not everyone is in agreement on when the organizers should announce a decision for the 51st annual summer poker extravaganza.

Cancel the 2020 WSOP Now or Not?

CardsChat ambassador Ryan Laplante grinds a grueling tournament schedule each summer. But even he isn’t confident the 2020 WSOP will take place. You can count him among one of the many pros who believe the series should already be canceled.

Laplante’s assertion may or may not be completely accurate. Publicly, the WSOP hasn’t shared details on any backup plans they may have should it be unsafe to host a major poker series in late May. They may, however, privately have plans in place for the 2020 WSOP in the event the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t calm by next month.

David “ODB” Baker doesn’t agree with Laplante on canceling the series this early. He argues that an announcement nearly two months prior to the first bracelet event isn’t necessary.

“I think it’s better to wait and have more info,” he wrote in response to Laplante’s post. “We will know a lot more in 3-4 weeks, info on vaccines and spread and heat and many things change daily.”

Baker, however, admits he isn’t confident the series will take place. But he also believes it’s too early to call it off. Many others agree with that viewpoint.

Twitter user @DannyMarx721 writes, “It’s an issue they can’t really deal with until they know more information and it’s closer to the start date. It’s a sh***y situation, but they have a lot at stake.”

You can count 2018 world champion John Cynn among those who aren’t ready for a 2020 WSOP decision to be made.

Downside and Upside to Waiting to Make a Decision

Organizing the World Series of Poker is a difficult task in any year. Planning for the 2020 WSOP poses some additional challenges due to COVID-19. As such, there is both an upside and a downside to just canceling the WSOP right now, nearly two months prior to the start.

First off, canceling the 2020 WSOP so early gives the many gig workers and contractors, such as massage therapists, dealers, and the like an opportunity to start making other plans for the summer.

But then you must consider the other side of the token. Many poker players have already booked travel plans for the summer in Las Vegas. Playing devil’s advocate here, let’s just say the coronavirus calms down by early May and the CDC announces social distancing is no longer necessary. Those who have booked travel may have a difficult time getting a refund on their travel expenses. By waiting it out, you at least take those players into consideration.

CardsChat Community Manager Debi O’Neill, who resides in Georgia, booked her trip to Las Vegas for the summer prior to all the casino closures. She’s currently kicking herself for spending so much on her trip considering how cheap flights are going for now, and she said her trip is non-refundable.

There are many factors the WSOP staff is taking into consideration. They’re in a lose-lose situation. If they cancel the series now, some will be upset they didn’t wait it out. But they’re also taking some heat from poker players who are upset the 2020 WSOP hasn’t already been canceled.

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