More money for non-Hold’em events

With the 2022 World Series of Poker just two months away, the WSOP is making a hard push to recruit as many dealers as possible to cover the hundreds of tables needed for bracelet events, satellites, and side games. On Monday, the WSOP announced a new pay structure to try to entice dealers to spend their summer at Bally’s (soon to be Horseshoe) and Paris Las Vegas.

The starting rate for WSOP dealers this summer will be $12.50 an hour. After their first shift, each dealer will receive a $100 bonus. The WSOP will pay an additional $15 per down for Texas Hold’em-only bracelet events and side events and $20 per down for non-Hold’em bracelet events. It isn’t exactly clear based on the wording if the $15 for “side events” is for Hold’em-only side events or all side events, but I would guess the latter, as the WSOP gave no such description for non-Hold’em side events.

At the World Series of Poker, a “down” is the period during which a dealer stays at a table, usually 30 minutes.

Any dealer funds left over at the end of the Series will be divvied up according to downs. There was no mention of cash games in the announcement.

COVID-19 created confusion before the 2021 WSOP

The dealer situation at the World Series of Poker is always complicated because of the sheer number of staff the WSOP needs, but last year was hectic because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masks were required at the tables, which came as no surprise because of Nevada’s indoor masking rules and the CDC’s health and safety guidelines. The big question, though, was whether or not players would have to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

A month before the WSOP, organizers announced that “anyone attending” the 2021 World Series of Poker would be required to show proof of vaccination. The rule was “inclusive of all participants, spectators, press and vendors.” So, whiles staff and dealers were not specifically mentioned in the press release, everyone assumed that they were included, as the announcement said “anyone attending.”

PokerNews asked for clarification and sure enough, there was a reason that staff and dealers were not mentioned. They were not required to be vaccinated.

“As with all Caesars Entertainment Team Members,” Caesars said, “WSOP Team Members are strongly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Caesars is committed to making vaccination easy and accessible for all Team Members. Additionally, the Company is providing significant incentives for Team Members who choose to be vaccinated.”

The decision was met with disappointment from many players, who, even if vaccinated, did not want to potentially be put at risk if a dealer was infected with COVID. It appears, though, that Caesars’ hands were tied, as dealers’ employment contracts did not require vaccination (they were likely signed before the pandemic or before the vaccines were produced) and the company could not legally alter their terms of employment.

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