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Live 2021 World Series Of Poker Officially Announced For Sept. 30 – Nov. 23

by Erik Fast |  Published: May 05, 2021

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It’s back! A live and in-person World Series of Poker will officially return for 2021, after the 2020 WSOP was moved exclusively online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WSOP organizers delighted poker players all over the world after announcing that this year’s live series will be held from Sept. 30 – Nov. 23. In previous years, the series was played out over the summer months between May and July.

“This year, more than ever, we embrace our role at the WSOP to deliver memorable experiences and bring this community of poker lovers back together. In 2021, the theme is, get vaccinated and get back to Vegas,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.

The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino will once again play host to the biggest tournament series of the year, despite recent news that the venue will soon be rebranded into a Hyatt Hotel.

The exact schedule of events has not yet been revealed for the 2021 WSOP, but organizers said that the first weekend of the series, “is expected to feature a special charity event to benefit frontline health workers, a $25,000 H.O.R.S.E., and a $5 million [guaranteed] no-limit hold’em event billed as ‘The Reunion.’”

The $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event that players know and love is currently planned to start Thursday, Nov. 4, with the event running through Wednesday, Nov. 17. There will be four starting flights spanning Nov. 4-7. Players participating on the first two starting days will combined for day 2 on Monday, Nov. 8. Those selecting the second two flights will play their day 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 9, with the fields combining for good on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

According to the release, “specific COVID-19 safety protocols and other related 2021 tournament policies will be reviewed with gaming regulators in the lead-up to the event. The World Series of Poker will be compliant with all directives from the state of Nevada regarding social distancing and capacity limits on the tournament dates.”

More details about the full schedule are expected to be released by this summer.

The decision to host a live series comes after tournament organizers faced criticism last year for their online offerings. Non-hold’em players were disappointed by the lack of mixed games on the schedule, and American high rollers had limited options on the U.S. facing site.

When an additional hybrid online and live main event was announced last-minute in November, it bothered online main event champion Stoyan Madanzhiev and others who felt he was the rightful title holder. When the event actually ran, it was marred by controversy that included one international player failing to show up for the live final table, while another was disqualified for testing positive for coronavirus.

Ultimately, the win went to Argentina’s Damian Salas, who previously finished seventh in the 2017 WSOP main event. Salas earned $2,550,969 as the champion in the event, which was televised by ESPN in February.

The turnout numbers were strong, however, and the relative success of the 2020 WSOP  Online has led organizers to continue that new tradition in 2021.

As with last year’s offering, the 2021 WSOP Online will offer a full slate of gold bracelet events throughout the summer. The events will once again be split between the International-facing GGPoker and the US-facing WSOP.com, which will hold the domestic tournaments on its all-american poker network beginning Thursday, July 1.

In addition to the live WSOP in Las Vegas and the online series in the summer, the WSOP Europe is also expected to return in 2021. The King’s Casino in Rozvadov is set to host the series again, with a 15-bracelet-event schedule that will run Friday, Nov. 19 through Tuesday, Dec. 8, subject to regulatory approval.

“We hope and anticipate travel restrictions will ease by the fall,” said Stewart. “It’s important to us that we have an excellent tournament schedule available to our European players.”

Expected highlights on the schedule will include the €10,000 buy-in WSOP Europe no-limit hold’em main event and a €50,000 buy-in high roller tournament. ♠