Two weeks following the reopening of Las Vegas casinos, COVID-19 cases are on the rise, portending trouble for the sort-of-planned fall WSOP series.
The 51st annual World Series of Poker was postponed, but a summer online bracelet series is on. Even so, organizers of poker’s most prestigious event are still anticipating a fall series at the Rio. That could be in jeopardy though if Southern Nevada doesn’t soon get its coronavirus problem under control.
Daniel Negreanu is counting on the fall series taking place as much as anyone. Not only is he passionate about winning bracelets every year, but he also has a $1 million prop bet on the line that he will win his seventh bracelet this year. As it stands, he will have 85 opportunities to ship one during the online series that takes place between GGPoker and WSOP.com from July 1-Sept. 6. But if the planned — without set dates — fall series runs, he’ll have some extra opportunities should he come up short this summer.
Las Vegas Area Going Through Difficult Times
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that it takes 2-14 days after contracting the coronavirus before showing symptoms. So, in many instances, confirmed cases can take between 2-3 weeks before they’re recorded. Thus, the reason you often hear the media say, “check back in two weeks,” after certain businesses begin to reopen.
Casinos in Las Vegas reopened for the first time since mid-March on June 4. And, as many projected, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southern Nevada have been rising since then. Last Tuesday — June 16 — Clark County registered 329 cases, a single-day record.
More than 13,000 Nevadans have tested positive for COVID-19, per the CDC. That pales in comparison to Iowa, for example, a state with a similar population. The Hawkeye State has registered 26,000 coronavirus infections. But with the casinos now open in Las Vegas and Reno, most health experts anticipate Nevada’s cases to continue rising.
That could have an adverse effect on the 2020 World Series of Poker. At present, the Nevada Gaming Control Board only permits five-handed poker games. The exception to that rule is Bellagio, which convinced the NGCB to allow the popular card room to spread six-handed games due to the use of plexiglass dividers between players and the dealers.
If the restrictions aren’t lifted by the fall, it’s unlikely a live WSOP will take place. Given the current rise in cases in Las Vegas, it’s unlikely the NGCB will be ready to permit card rooms to increase the maximum players per table any time soon.