WSOP Adds Extra Starting Days to Attract International Players

WSOP Adds Extra Starting Days to Attract International Players
By Bill Ordine

The World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas is edging closer to a pre-COVID-19 pandemic look as organizers announced two extra days of starting flights that are intended to facilitate international participation.

The extra starting days are Nov. 8 and Nov. 9, otherwise known as 1E (beginning 11 a.m.) and 1F (beginning noon). Previously, there were four starting days — Nov. 4-7, or Days 1A-1D.

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The added flights will not impact the previously announced duration of the Main Event (technically Event No. 67). The Main Event is scheduled to run through Nov. 17.

The added days are the result of international travel restrictions being eased. The WSOP believes that will result in more international players being able to travel to Las Vegas. The WSOP’s 88 live events are being held at its traditional venue in recent years, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

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Newly arriving international players, like players who have already been playing at the Rio, will have to meet COVID-related requirements, meaning they will have to be fully vaccinated, with proof, to participate.

A World Event

In adding the Main Event days, the WSOP noted that the World Series of Poker has become truly a world event. In the pre-pandemic 2019 Main Event, players from 118 countries participated in the WSOP. Seven of the past 16 Main Event Champions have been international players.

“The Main Event is the World Championship of poker and we want players from around the world to have a chance to compete for the title in 2021,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said. “We are thrilled with this creative solution to add flights allowing international players the chance to play without extending the duration of the event or asking any player to change their plans.”

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The updated schedule can be found here.

Proof of Vaccination

Regarding proof of vaccination, the WSOP will make use of CLEAR’s free mobile app and Health Pass feature.

From the WSOP: “Participants who successfully add their proof of full vaccination through CLEAR's Health Pass may go directly to the registration cage tellers within the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Convention Center. WSOP will also provide an on-site center to verify alternate documentation including physical vaccination cards, and state or country-specific health passes.

“To be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ against COVID-19, participants must receive their final vaccine dose 14 days prior to start date.”



A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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