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World Series of Poker Main Event Finalist Reportedly Disqualified For Positive COVID-19 Test

Three-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Upeshka De Silva To Be Awarded Automatic Ninth Place, Earning $98,813


Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva has reportedly been disqualified from the final table of the 2020 WSOP $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event after testing positive for COVID-19.

According to social media posts by Joey Ingram, with corroborating responses from De Silva himself, he first tested positive for the virus on Dec. 20, roughly a week before the final table was set to resume. He then tested negative on Dec. 26, only to test positive again on Dec. 27, just one day before the final table was set to play down to a winner.

The 32-year-old poker pro was set to enter the final table in eighth chip position. He is now apparently disqualified, which would mean that he would officially earn the minimum final-table payout of $98,813, according to the rules laid out by the WSOP when the event was first announced.

The WSOP has not yet made an official statement about De Silva’s reported disqualification, with the final table set to resume at 3:00 p.m. pacific on Monday, Dec. 28.

Isaac Haxton posed the question, “Were they planning to let him play eight days after a positive test, if he tested negative today?” De Silva himself responded with more details about how the situation arose.

De Silva says he has been quarantining since Dec. 10 in preparation for this final table.

Although he is among the short stacks, he was by far the most accomplished player remaining in the tournament. The Sri Lanka-born and Texas-raised pro has just shy of $3.1 million in tournament earnings, with all of his bracelet wins coming in no-limit hold’em events. He won his first in 2017, topping a field of 1,655 entries to win a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event for $424,577. Two years later he took down the $3,000 buy-in shootout event, besting a field of 369 to earn $229,923. In 2019 he won the $600 buy-in bounty event, outlasting 1,224 entries to earn $98,263.

If De Silva’s disqualification is ultimately upheld, this would be the second final table within the 2020 WSOP main event’s unique hybrid format that would be down a player. Peiyuan Sun made the final table of the ‘International Tournament’, but the Chinese player elected to not travel to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic for the live final table on Tuesday, Dec. 15. He earned $75,360, the ninth-place payout.

As of the time that this article was published, the final table of the ‘Domestic Tournament’ is still set to resume play in the afternoon on Dec. 28 with the other eight players. The remaining eight eligible competitors would all be guaranteed at least a $125,885 payday, with the eventual winner set to earn $1,553,256.

The winner from this tournament would then face off against ‘International Tournament’ champion Damian Salas on Dec. 30 in a heads-up match for the title, the bracelet, and $1 million in added prize money.