Poker Players Debate: Is it Classless to Bet on Coronavirus Forcing WSOP Cancellation?

The coronavirus, which originated in China, is now threatening to spread throughout the US, potentially affecting the 2020 World Series of Poker. Some poker players on Twitter are taking bets on if the series will even take place this summer. Others, including Daniel Negreanu, refuse to wager on a virus that could leave many sick or dead.

coronavirus 2020 wsop poker

The coronavirus could impact the 2020 World Series of Poker. (Image: kwch.com)

Over 80,000 people, mostly in China, have contracted this harmful virus over the past few months. Nearly 3,000 individuals have died from it, including the first death in the US recently.

Seth Palansky, WSOP’s vice president of corporate communications, informed CardsChat that they are planning to host the 51st annual World Series of Poker this summer. Should the coronavirus threat worsen and spread rapidly in Las Vegas, he said they’ll take the proper precautions. But some poker pros — and former pros — must know something Palansky doesn’t.

High Rollers Bet on Coronavirus to Postpone 2020 WSOP

CardsChat’s Johnny Kampis recently reported on the effects the coronavirus could have on the 2020 WSOP. As stated in the article, the WSOP isn’t the only major event that could be cancelled due to this deadly virus. The Summer Olympics, held in Japan, is also in jeopardy.

That makes some poker players wonder if the WSOP will be postponed, and a few pros have even gone so far as to bet on a cancellation.

Crossing the Line of Decency?

Should the coronavirus spread throughout the US, many Americans will likely die. Due to that reason, some poker players on Twitter were critical of those who would bet on the virus forcing a WSOP cancellation. Daniel Negreanu is one of those individuals.

Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 world champion, admitted in response to Negreanu’s post that he’s concerned the series will be cancelled. But he also he won’t bet on it happening for the reasons Negreanu listed.

It’s certainly an interesting debate to have. Is it ethically wrong to bet on the coronavirus spreading enough to force a WSOP postponement? We aren’t about to get up on a high horse here, so we’ll let you be the judge.

McDonald defended his wager. He wrote on Twitter that he isn’t cheering for thousands of people to get sick and die so he can collect on a bet. Instead, he says, “rooting for it to be cancelled is more about hoping those in charge of the WSOP care about the lives of their employees and customers more than they care about dollars.”

Of course, no one knows just how widespread the coronavirus will be in the US come May 26 when the World Series of Poker is open for business.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.

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