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Poker Pros Wager On Whether Coronavirus Outbreak Will Cancel The WSOP In Las Vegas

Doug Polk, Mike McDonald, and Dan O'Brien Among Pros Willing To Bet That The Summer Series Will Be Canceled


The coronavirus outbreak shut down casinos in Macau in early February and now some poker players believe that the emerging pandemic is at risk of shutting down the 51st annual World Series of Poker this summer in Las Vegas.

As the number of cases worldwide escalates to, at the time of writing, more than 83,000 and spreads outside of mainland China into other regions of the world, there are some high-profile poker pros who are willing to take bets that the event will be canceled.

Wednesday evening, former high-stakes poker pro and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk quote tweeted someone claiming that there needed to be a discussion about the viability of the event amid the outbreak. Polk said there “is a real chance of WSOP being canceled.”

True to his gambling form, Polk wanted to put his money where his mouth was and said that he would be taking bets from other people who believed that the event would go on as planned. He would take all action as long as he was being laid 20:1 on his bet.

At the time of Polk’s tweets, those in charge of the WSOP had no intention of canceling the event but said they were continuing to monitor the outbreak and could make changes if necessary.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation and will continue to lean on the experts in this field for guidance,” said Seth Palansky, Vice President of Corporate Communication for the WSOP. “At this time, all our events and schedules remain intact and are planned to go on without interruption. We would be prepared to expand measures to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, again leaning on the experts.”

Polk wasn’t the only pro that wanted to take bets, however. Shortly after, high roller and PokerShares founder Mike McDonald tweeted that he would take slightly worse odds than Polk on the wager, provided his opposition is willing to risk at least $40,000.

Dan O’Brien decided that if the price was good enough for McDonald, he would take action at 16:1 as well. Later in the day, McDonald dropped the price to 12:1, at which point O’Brien did the same.

Not everybody was as pessimistic as those three, however, and at least a few notable pros took McDonald up on his offer. 12-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Josh Reichard tweeted at McDonald to work out the details of a prospective bet through a private message. His tweet alluded to the possibility of two-time WSOP bracelet winner David “ODB” Baker betting against McDonald as well.