WSOP Opens Online Registration and Clarifies Covid Rule
The live 2021 WSOP in Las Vegas is about a month and a half from kickoff on September 30, which means details will emerge in the coming weeks. The latest information includes clarification of the Covid-19 rule, also known as Rule 115, and information about online event registration, which is now open.
Let’s first do a quick rundown of what we already knew.
There are five parts to the 2021 World Series of Poker – three online and two live series. Altogether, they will award 177 gold bracelets.
–US online at WSOP.com (Nevada/New Jersey): July 1 – August 1
–International online at GGPoker: August 1 – September 12
–US online at WSOP.com (Pennsylvania): August 6-16
–WSOP live in Las Vegas: September 30 – November 23
–WSOP Europe live in Czech Republic: November 14 – December 8
Last week, the WSOP released its 2021 rules, a 31-page document that contained numerous changes from previous years. Lost in the hullabaloo about Rule 115 were two important pieces of information made available:
The WSOP also opened its media credential application process. For the few who want to know but didn’t already know, the form is available here. The deadline for application submissions is September 10.
The media credentialing process for the live, in-person 2021 World Series of Poker event and $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, best known as “The Main Event,” is now officially open.
Register here: https://t.co/vVYWYM28Gl
— WSOP – World Series of Poker (@WSOP) August 16, 2021
Online Registration Opens
It’s ready. Poker players can now register online for any of the 2021 WSOP bracelet events via Bravo Poker Live. The website/app provides a full schedule and detailed help with the registration process.
The very first thing to do upon creating a free account and logging in is to have a Caesars Rewards card. It will be necessary for all registrations. Players can sign up for one on the Caesars website.
Click on any tournament’s “Register Now” button to get started. Enter a last name and Caesars card number. Select a payment, enter the appropriate information, and agree to the conditions. The “Make Payment” button will complete the transaction. A “Registration Accepted” screen will confirm it and provide the user’s name, rewards number, tournament information, and confirmation number.
Note that once a player is registered for a tournament, they may cancel to receive a refund for the buy-in, but third-party fees will not be refunded.
Methods of Payments
There are several methods that Bravo Poker Live will accept for online registration.
-1. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club) = $10K or less
-2. ACH (online banking) = $10K or less
-3. Wire transfers = no amount limit, must initiate transfer 14 or more days prior to event start date
There will be a fee for any type of transaction. Bravo will charge a registration fee for using the online service. Credit cards typically assess a fee totaling 2.95% of the amount charged, though American Express may charge 3.95%. Wire transfer fees will vary based on the bank conducting the transfer. There may also be a $3 fee per transaction for using ACH/online banking directly from a person’s bank account.
By waiting to register in person, there are some benefits. Players can avoid the Bravo Poker Live fee. They can also use additional methods of payment:
-1. Cash = no amount limit
-2. Rio gaming chips = no amount limit
-3. Rio tournament buy-in chips = no amount limit
-4. WSOP tournament buy-in credit
-5. Cashier’s check, to be made payable to Participant or Rio
Players can also establish a WSOP Tournament Account in person. This is a way for players to wire a chunk of funds into this specific account of fund the account with cash or Rio chips. Players can then pay for tournament buy-ins via this special account.
In-Person Requirements for All Registrations
When players register online for the first time in 2021, they will have to visit the Rio before their first tournament to verify their identification. The Belize Ballroom will provide a dedicated area solely for people who completed online registrations. This must be done at least one hour before the start time of their first event.
The in-person process is the WSOP FasTrac verification system. They must present the following:
-Valid identification card (driver license, for example) or passport
-Caesars Rewards card
-Credit card used, if applicable
Once verified, WSOP staff will give the player her or his receipt and seat assignment.
After a player’s identification is verified once in 2021, they may avoid that process altogether going forward. They can simply visit one of 20 kiosks located around the convention center to receive their seat assignment, swiping only their Caesars Rewards card to do so.
The WSOP provides a longer version of this information on its website.
Covid-19 Rule Changes
The most controversial World Series of Poker rule in many years stems from the coronavirus pandemic, the same one that canceled the live WSOP in 2020 altogether. The WSOP had to issue some type of guidance regarding Covid-19 and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulations, as required by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
The initial statement was:
“In accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control, [Rio] reserves the right to remove any Participant from any WSOP Event at any time prior to or during the WSOP Event, in its sole and absolute discretion, for any health or safety related reasons, including but not limited to, if Participant is determined by [Rio] in its sole discretion, to have received a positive test result for COVID-19 or come into close proximity (within 6 feet for 15 cumulative minutes) of any person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if Participant refuses to undergo any health and safety screening required by [Rio] to participate in a WSOP Event. If Participant is removed from a WSOP Event pursuant to this paragraph, and for no other reason, Participant shall not be entitled to any compensation or remuneration of any type other than what Participant had already been awarded prior to being removed from the WSOP Event. However, for the avoidance of doubt, should Participant be disqualified for any additional reason or reasons that subject Participant to penalties pursuant to the Official Rules, those penalties shall apply. Further, in the situation where one or more Participants is disqualified pursuant to this Paragraph, [Rio] reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to determine whether to proceed with any WSOP Event as scheduled or to postpone or reschedule a WSOP Event, or any portion of a WSOP Event, to a later date.”
After quite the kerfuffle from players on various sides of the issue, the WSOP issued a clarification. The wording of Rule 115 changed somewhat, and the WSOP issued a statement to clarify further:
“The health and safety of our World Series of Poker participants and Team Members is our top priority. To that end, Caesars Entertainment will continue to operate in a manner consistent with CDC guidelines while following the applicable rules and mandates of our local governments and regulators at all times.
“Consistent with current CDC guidelines, WSOP participants who are known to have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 will not be required to leave the tournament and quarantine if they are fully vaccinated within the appropriate timing parameters and remain asymptomatic since the time of exposure.
“We recognize that the Covid-19 public health situation is constantly evolving. We will continue to work with our team of health and safety experts, local government, and our regulators, and all our policies are subject to change as guidance evolves.
“We remain committed to providing the safest environment possible for the return of the World Series of Poker.”
WSOP Rule 115 clarification:
No on-site testing or proof of vaccine required (as of today)
WSOP will not DQ a player unless they volunteer they have tested positive
Any contact tracing done by CDC in Nevada is independent of the WSOP.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) August 14, 2021
Daniel Negreanu seems to be under the impression that positive Covid-19 test results are completely voluntary. And he noted that the WSOP will not do contact tracing.
This seems to be the complete opposite of the overly broad initial statement.
There is an important caveat. This may not be the final guidance from the WSOP. Nevada may change its state-wide mandates, Clark County could implement various mandates, and Caesars Entertainment could change its policy as well. With approximately six weeks to go before the WSOP begins and the Covid-19 trends changing weekly, updates to the current guidance seem likely.