Upeshka De Silva tests positive for COVID-19, can’t play at final table

The poker world was skeptical that the hybrid online/live 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event was going to work and it appears that skepticism was well-founded. The proof: the 2020 WSOP Main Event is now going to end in 2021. Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic altered the Main Event into something…less than, it has also now resulted in Upeshka De Silva not being able to play in the US Bracket final table and International Bracket champion Damian Salas having trouble even getting to the United States for the heads-up finale.

Let’s talk about today’s US Bracket final table first. In the wee hours of Monday morning, Joey Ingram tweeted the news that Upeshka De Silva tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and, as a result, would not be permitted to participate in the final table. According to WSOP rules, anyone who tests positive (presumably the day before the event) is disqualified and automatically receives ninth place money. In De Silva’s case, this is $98,813.

The story behind what must be a crushing disappointment for De Silva is a bit odd, though. As De Silva explained via Twitter, he had been quarantining since December 10 to keep himself safe before the WSOP and was feeling fine until December 20, when he lost his sense of smell. He took a COVID-19 test and it came back positive.

The next day, De Silva tried to contact WSOP tournament director Jack Effel through a third-party. When Effel called back, the TD told De Silva not to tell him anything, just to simply answer “yes” or “no” to whether or not he had a positive COVID test that day. Since “that day” was the day after his test, De Silva said he had not tested positive. Effel acknowledge the response and told De Silva he would see him Sunday for his official pre-final table COVID-19 test.

“No guidance no options no advice no plan,” De Silva tweeted. “I was very scared as you can imagine and I didn’t know if I went public if I would even have a chance to test after that call”

De Silva then tested negative for COVID-19 on December 26, but positive on December 27 and here we are. The US Bracket final table will proceed today with just eight players.

Damian Salas can’t even get to the States

Then there is the matter of Damian Salas, who won the International Bracket final table at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic on December 15. The next step for him was to fly to the United States to square off with the US Bracket winner at the Rio in Las Vegas this Wednesday, December 30.

But that step has yet to happen.

The Argentinian planned to fly through Dallas on Saturday, but as he told CodigoPoker, just 15 minutes before he and his family were going to leave for the airport, he received a call that he would be denied entry into the country because he had been in Europe within the last 15 days.

Salas had a “certificate of exemption” from the World Series of Poker and had tested negative for COVID-19, but that certificate was apparently denied at the last minute. He was told to change his tickets to go through Miami, but Miami would not recognize the exemption, either. Thus, Salas had a million dollars to play for, but no way to get to Las Vegas.

Despite all the frustration, Salas will still fly to the States, but he will not get on a plane until Wednesday, the day on which the heads-up match is schedule. As a result, the heads-up portion of the Main Event has been moved to January 2, 2021.

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