World Series Of Poker Removes Mask Mandate For 2021 Events
The 2021 World Series of Poker will be played without a mask mandate.
According to a tweet from the organization on Tuesday afternoon, since all the players, media and spectators will be required to show proof of vaccination, the event is compliant with NV Emergency Directive 050. The directive was signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak and allowed for events that require proof of vaccination to disregard the current indoor mask mandate.
By complying with the directive, players will be allowed to take their masks off while they are sitting at the tables.
At the end of August, the WSOP announced its new requirement for this year’s live series with mixed reactions from the poker world. When it was originally released, however, the organizers said that masks would be required for anyone in the playing area.
Initially, it was rumored that the mask mandate would stay in place because the dealers and staff at the event would not be required to receive the vaccine. Caesars Interactive Entertainment never directly responded to any of these accusations but did release a statement to another media outlet regarding the issue.
“As with all Caesars Entertainment Team Members, 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,” read the statement.
A handful of poker pros responded to the tweet regarding the new mask development with continued skepticism about unvaccinated staff.
I don’t want to remove my mask around unvaccinated dealers, though…
— Matt Stout (@MattStoutPoker) September 7, 2021
Ten handed poker with unvaccinated dealers and no masks? What could go wrong?
— Jeff Boski (@ICuRaRook) September 7, 2021
Aside from the staff issue, the reactions looked to be pretty split. Some players wanted to keep mask mandates in place, while others were thrilled to play poker like it was 2019.
— TonyDunstTV (@tonydunsttv) September 7, 2021
Ugh. Less likely to go- that’s crazy. A very simple thing we can do to prevent spread and you don’t do it. So frustrating.
— 22 (@pokerbucket) September 7, 2021
According to the “Frequently Asked Questions” portion of the WSOP website, medical and religious exemptions to the vaccine requirement will not be allowed and are not allowed under the emergency directive.