It was previously reported that anyone who attended the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) would need to show that they had received the Covid 19 vaccine. This led many people to believe that poker dealers would be required to be vaccinated as well, although this was not actually stated in the mandate.
Caesars Entertainment has now revealed that dealers are not required to be vaccinated, but they are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Further, they claimed that they make the vaccine accessible and easy to get for their team members. They even provide their team members with incentives for getting the vaccine.
COVID-19 may be a contentious topic of discussion, but it’s a topic that needs to be dealt with in preparation for the WSOP. The WSOP was canceled last year, as were most live poker tournaments, and many have feared that it would end up the same way this year as well. So far, the event has only been delayed until fall this year so that the organizers would have the time they need to put adequate health and safety precautions in place. It also gave time for the pandemic to potentially decline.
Unfortunately, though, instead of subsiding, the delta variant caused an increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Because of this increase, the WSOP made Rule #115 that states that anyone that comes into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 may be blocked from competing. Organizers have further clarified this rule, adding that as long as a player is vaccinated and asymptomatic, they do not need to worry about being removed.
Now only last Friday, the organizers announced that everyone attending, including vendors and press, would be required to be vaccinated to help the event progress smoothly and safely for all. Until now, pretty much everyone assumed that included staff and dealers, but then PokerNews decided to request clarification on the rule. It turns out that it was just a misunderstanding.
This is bound to cause anger on both sides of the vaccination debate as dealers are required to remain in close contact with a great number of players for long periods of time. However, it is safe to say the WSOP has its reasons, and it may simply have to do with the current dealer shortage going on. Regardless, with only a few weeks to go until the WSOP begins, we are likely to start hearing a lot about this tournament coming up.