Damian Salas Can’t Enter US Right Now, WSOP Main Event Finale Pushed Back

Damian Salas is having trouble entering the United States, so the heads-up match to determine the WSOP Main Event champion is being pushed back. The news comes just hours after Upeshka De Silva was disqualified from the US final table due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Damian Salas WSOP poker

Damian Salas will have to wait a few days longer than expected to compete for a world title. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

De Silva was scheduled to compete at the Rio final table in Las Vegas on Monday. Instead, he’ll receive ninth-place money ($98,813) and won’t be dealt a single hand. Those were the rules set forth prior to the start of the tournament earlier this month. Each player knew of the risks associated with traveling during a global health pandemic.

Monday’s final table will still go on, but with eight players instead of nine. One of those players will take home $1.5 million and a shot to face Salas, who won the international bracket of the tournament, heads-up for the bracelet and an extra $1 million. That heads-up finale was scheduled for Dec. 30 at the Rio, but the international winner is having a difficult time entering the United States.

Salas Stuck at Airport

CordigoPoker reports that Salas twice tested negative for COVID-19 prior to departing for Las Vegas, but he still hasn’t yet been able to make the trip to the US. He was scheduled to depart on Saturday, but received an unfortunate message prior to departure.

“I was going to travel to Las Vegas on Saturday via Dallas,” Salas told CordigoPoker. “15 minutes before leaving for the airport, I received a notification that in Dallas, they did not recognize my certificate and that they would not let me in.”

Salas and his four traveling companions were instructed to re-route their flight to Miami instead of Dallas, but once again, he wasn’t permitted to board and was stuck at the airport. As a result of his difficulties, the WSOP has bumped back the Main Event heads-up finale from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 to accommodate Salas’ needs.

They won’t, however, hold off on the US Main Event final table until De Silva tests negative for COVID-19. The show must go on, and it will on Monday beginning at 3 pm PT. There is no live-stream available, but you can catch the edited version on ESPN in February.

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.


skaterick wrote...

he should have been DQ’d. i thought that was WSOP policy for this event . interesting that previously , 2 players had their stacks pulled (with no chance to ladder up while sitting out ), but now an absence is accommodated . i assume the bad publicity of a final heads-up default resulted in a quick and hypocritical rule change .

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