Vegas Site of World Series of Poker Will Change Next Year

By Bill Ordine

Caesars Entertainment's World Series of Poker announced a major change for the 2022 WSOP Tuesday that might signal another change for the Las Vegas Strip generally.

The news on Tuesday, as the current 2021 WSOP Main Event was winding down, was that next year’s annual poker festival will move from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, where the tournament has been mainly held since 2005, to the Bally's and Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

Those two casino-hotels are part of Caesars Entertainment’s portfolio, as is the World Series of Poker.

The continuation of the marriage of the WSOP and the Rio has been a matter of speculation for years. Conjecture heightened when Caesars sold the Rio in late 2019 to New York-based real estate developer Eric Birnbaum. Part of the deal was that Caesars would continue to operate the Rio for a few years and pay rent. Birnbaum has big plans for refurbishing the Rio, which lost some of its luster in recent years.

One Caesars Asset Might Be Shed

Meanwhile, the Caesars company agreed to be purchased by Eldorado Resorts in mid-2019. All along, Eldorado has made it clear that it needed to shed some of the Caesars assets. That includes at least one property on The Strip but which one was not specified. There was speculation that Bally’s could be a candidate, but the building is connected to Paris and some who are familiar with the operations have suggested separating the two is no easy matter.

There are several Caesars properties clustered at center Strip, including the aforementioned Bally’s and Paris (on the northeast corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard), Harrah’s, the Linq, the Flamingo and the Cromwell all – like Bally’s and Paris -- on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard. On the west side of the Strip is the flagship Caesars Palace, probably an untouchable.

Back on the east side of the Strip just south of Bally’s and Paris is Planet Hollywood, which, at least by location, is distinctly apart from the other Caesars properties. However, perhaps to a buyer, getting a Strip property that has its own position on Las Vegas Boulevard might be appealing.

Moving the WSOP to Bally’s and Paris will be a nice shot in the arm for the two properties with the event also shifting back to its longtime seasonal slot of late spring-early summer (May 31-July 19), and it also would seem to suggest that Bally’s is staying with Caesars. Last year's WSOP was a hybrid of online poker events with live tables toward the end.

Vince Vaughn to Be MC in 2022

Along with the announcement of the move from the Rio to Bally’s and Paris, the WSOP also said that comedian-actor Vince Vaughn will be the official Master of Ceremonies for the 2022 WSOP. Vaughn’s association with Vegas will be obvious to movie-goers familiar with his role in “Swingers,” a film about a group of friends who take a quick trip to Las Vegas and where “Vegas, Baby, Vegas” became a catch-phrase.

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Bill Ordine
Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.
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Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.
... Read More