The World Series of Poker, as well as locations up and down the Las Vegas Strip, was a chaotic scene for a short time Saturday night as rumors of a possible active shooter situation spread. Fortunately, the catalyst to the panic was the breaking of a glass door at the MGM Grand valet area, but it was still a scary situation and an unfortunate sign of the times in the United States.
The glass shattering incident happened around 10:00pm and Las Vegas Metropolitan police confirmed that active shooter reports were false at about 10:30pm, but in that brief time span in between, all hell broke loose.
At Bally’s and Paris, where Espen Jorstad had just won the 2022 WSOP Main Event a few hours earlier, people fled, thinking someone could be shooting up the casinos. The stampede resulted in many injuries, though nothing overly serious, from what we hear.
Daniel Negreanu, though, certainly took the worst of it, blogging and tweeting a picture of a completely torn up hand:
In his vlog from the WSOP, he said that he got knocked down in the frenzy and every time he tried to get up, he got knocked down again.
Joey Ingram posted a photo of some people ducking behind overturned poker tables, though others did not seem particularly bothered by the rumored dangerous situation:
Among the poker players who suffered injuries (again, nothing too bad) were Mike Matusow, Liv Boeree, Vanessa Kade, and Yuval Bronshtein.
Kade said that she heard loud noise at the other end of the Paris ballroom from where she was, precipitated the panic and stampede out of the venue. She ended up falling in the doorway and had trouble getting up because of the flood of people fleeing. Fortunately, fellow poker player Eddy Sabat saw her, blocked people from trampling her, and helped her up. As Kade said, had there really been an active shooter, Sabat was potentially risking his life to help her.
2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe Cada commented on social media, “I’ve never seen so many people running in fear, only caring about themselves, myself included. Everyone thought there was an active shooter. You really learn a lot about yourself and others in a panic situation.”
Because of a combination of players leaving the poker room, tables being tipped over and thus spilling chips, and lingering fear, three tournaments – $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 8-handed, $1,500 Closer, and the $10,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Championship – were halted early and resumed on Sunday. $3,000 HORSE kept going once everything calmed back down, as there were just four players remaining.
If there is a silver lining aside from there not being yet another mass shooting, it’s that many players have reported what an excellent job tournament staff did at sorting everything out afterward. They cleaned up the mess, recreated chip stacks, and restored order to let things get back to normal as quickly as possible.