The 2021 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas is less than two months away but at least one prominent poker player will not be in attendance. Chris Moneymaker revealed on Twitter that he had canceled booked trips to El Paso and Las Vegas to attend the WSOP, citing COVID-19 reasons.
In the tweet, Moneymaker said that because his 9 year old can’t be vaccinated — vaccinations are currently limited to 12 years of age or older — he does not want to risk bringing the virus home to him after playing. Moneymaker, who has spent a lot of his recent poker playing online at Americas Cardroom said that COVID-19 has affected a handful of people around him, making his decision easier.
— Chris Moneymaker ⭕ (@CMONEYMAKER) August 6, 2021
“Neighbor died, uncle about to die, kid’s friend in the hospital, poker player I know died, know about 10 people in my circle battling it. I am living my life just away from others.”
COVID will affect 2021 WSOP in some manner
While an estimated 166 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, cases have risen of late as many remain unvaccinated and new strains gain hold. For poker fans, this likely means that the 2021 WSOP will be anything but a normal year, even though a live WSOP is apparently still on track to return.
Late last month a mask mandate was issued in Nevada, which requires those indoors in public must wear a mask. With cases continuing to increase and no downtrend in sight — as well as the WSOP being a haven for worldwide travelers — it sure looks like players will have to wear masks at the poker tables this fall.
While players like Moneymaker may not play the event due to rising cases and family health concerns, on the other side of the coin, mask mandates will likely also deter some players from attending this year’s event due to the restrictions. Prospects of this year being one of the biggest WSOP ever due to pent-up demand from a lack of WSOP during 2020 had some expecting that 2021 could be a record year.
But with players hesitant to play or difficulty even getting to Las Vegas (the U.S. currently has travel restrictions from Europe), those numbers could end up being much lower than expected.