The world is now nearly four months into what has become a worldwide pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization. Basically every facet of life has been affected, from people’s work situations to their home life to what they do for recreation. The future has become even more complex as people begin to wonder when things will come back to normal.

Especially when it comes to the area of recreation, those things have become less than important in life. From the suspension of the Chinese Basketball Association back in January to the National Basketball Association’s suspension in March, athletic and other competitions have been examined thoroughly and, in some cases, canceled altogether (the National Collegiate Athletic Association went to the ultimate step of canceling ALL spring sports competitions across the country). Now it is time that the world of gaming and, in particular, the World Series of Poker officials, to step up and decide, and a difficult decision it will be.

Casinos Darkened, No Poker Being Played

Since the NCAA shut down March Madness for 2020, the world of poker has been very slow to follow suit. The World Poker Tour took an extensive amount of time before postponing some of their tournaments, especially the three final tables that would have made up the bulk of their programming for PokerGO. The WSOP has shown itself to be even slower, weighing the different states and countries they conduct tournaments in (not like the WPT didn’t have those considerations), before finally coming out and postponing several Circuit events. But what about the Big Kahuna – the 51st annual event, coming up on May 27?

WSOP officials have been tight-lipped on what the plans are regarding poker’s greatest event. Literally thousands of poker players from across the States of America and many nations around the world are waiting with bated breath for some sort of information regarding whether there is going to be a postponement or, even worse, a cancelation. But we can look at some other events and see that it isn’t looking so good for the WSOP to go off on schedule.

One of the venerable events in the horse racing world, the Kentucky Derby, has been postponed from its traditional first weekend in May until Labor Day at the earliest. This delay will allow for the horses vying for the Triple Crown to have adequate training and be ready for the test that Churchill Downs throws at them (currently the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown scheduled for May 16, has been postponed until September; the Belmont Stakes, run in coronavirus-ravaged New York, is still scheduled for June but could also be postponed). There have also been a few other major events – The Masters for professional golf and the French Open in tennis – that have been pushed to later dates (hopefully) in 2020.

What is the biggest event of them all arguably – the 2020 Summer Olympics, to be held in Tokyo in July – is now under the gun of potential postponement or cancelation. Already the Canadian Olympic Federation has declared that, if the Tokyo Games go off as scheduled, they will not compete in this year’s Games. Two U. S. organizations – the U. S. Track and Field Federation and the U. S. Swimming Federation – have said that the Tokyo Games should at the minimum be postponed if not canceled outright. After more outrage from other countries, the International Olympic Committee came out today and stated they will decide on the status of the 2020 Tokyo Games within the next four weeks.

Folks Don’t Make the Decision Overnight

To be honest, this is something that officials with the WSOP should be doing themselves. Come out and tell the people who will be participating in your event just what the hell is going on. Why? Because these people just don’t make the decision overnight to come to Las Vegas to participate on the biggest stage the game has to offer.

For those that come from overseas (let’s just leave the current travel bans out of the mix, which could put a whole other monkey wrench in the works), they have to plan their trips out, not just grab the passport, tuck a few bricks of “high society” into a duffel bag and head to Sin City. No, they need to know that the event is going to be going on, not to mention that there is going to be a hotel in the middle of the desert in the summertime that will have a room for them.

Even for those that live in the Americas, this isn’t just a jaunt down the road for a gallon of milk (very scarce, right now, to be honest). There are plenty of people who are planning their vacations around making their trips to poker’s Mecca, card clubs or friendly groups determining their champion that they will send with the hopes and dreams of winning a WSOP bracelet, or even the local hotshot “Mike McD” wannabe who is getting in that cab and ready to take their shot. THEY need to know what is going on with poker’s premiere event, not just get the entirely useless statement that officials are “watching what is going on and will act appropriately.”

With the Derby and the Preakness postponed – and I am sure you’re going to see the Indianapolis 500 and other primo sporting events in April and May shut down (the talk is that Major League Baseball may not begin until Memorial Day; the NBA? Not until late June or early July, with empty stadiums holding the games) – it is time that WSOP officials either step up and decide or, at the freaking minimum, give the people a time frame in which a decision will be made. To do otherwise is to disrespect the very people who would LOVE to play in your event, provided you treat them halfway decently along the way.

WSOP honchos – do like the IOC has done. Make a statement that, on April 15 (or 30, or even the first week of May), you will decide on what you will do. This will BARELY give people the opportunity to plan out their trips and accommodations (hopefully those overseas will be able to join us in the States) and would show that you are taking the players into consideration. And what should that decision be? If it were up to me, I’d postpone the whole schedule until mid-June, chop it in half (101 bracelet events is ridiculous in the first place) and, with no more “November Nine,” hopefully have it done by the end of July.

To do otherwise flies in the face of reality. Even if the “all clear” is sounded, do you really think that players want to sit elbows to buttholes with literally thousands of people from around the world? Take the hit this year and just try to come back in 2021 with the whiz-bang schedule you set up this time around. But you really don’t want to offend the customers by not keeping them informed.

Hopefully, WSOP…you’re going to do the right thing…

4 Comments

  1. Thom Vance says:

    They have time to decide. A postponement or later start mid to end of June won’t hurt the event. If they lose some overseas players this year it will still be a great tournament. Before Moneymaker they still had the events, it’s ok to be smaller this year.

  2. Jen says:

    This article is 100% on point. Damn, what are they waiting for?
    PS-have you seen Poker Queens on Amazon Prime? New movie shows a lot of the underside of poker.

  3. Earl Burton says:

    Hey Jen,

    I am sure the primary reason they are waiting is that they are trying to be as sure as possible about their decision and have all the information necessary. The later they wait, the more info they have and the better decision they can make…kind of like poker!

    I have not seen Poker Queens yet…it is on my agenda. And I will be sure to review it here!

    Thanks for reading!

    EB

  4. Mike Cordes says:

    Agree with you Earl, Thom. Need to let players know to expect a decision by mid-late April. Should not be cancelled but definitely postponed. I think last week of June at earliest (that also let’s players be home for Fathers Day). Maybe have same amount of events as last year (81?). Schedule finishing in August not bad. Online events could stay on schedule. One important reason not to cancel is this could be one of the major events that helps Airlines, Hotels and gets people their jobs back. As this is just one opinion, would be good to hear how others felt or their ideas.

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