The World Series of Poker recently announced its return, its post-pandemic comeback in Las Vegas this year. For the first time in more than 50 years, there was no live WSOP series in Las Vegas.

There was an online 2020 WSOP that took place on several online poker sites and culminated in final tables. Those tables played in the Czech Republic and the United States, with the final heads-up battle in Las Vegas in the first days of January 2021. It was an unconventional year, to be certain. But the traditional series of poker tournaments in Las Vegas did not happen because it simply wasn’t possible. Most of the world was locked down for pandemic precautions.

This year, though, the World Series of Poker was determined to return. Its executives recently announced that it will happen in Las Vegas this year but in the later months, a switch from the typical Vegas summer months with extreme heat. It is now scheduled for 30 September to 23 November this year, complete with 88 live poker tournaments and gold bracelets on the line.

As announced, there are numerous highlighted events, from Event 4 (The Reunion) with its $5M guarantee to Event 70 (Crazy Eights) with $888,888 guaranteed for the winner. And the WSOP Main Event will run 4-17 November with four starting days.

There will also be an international WSOP Online series, which will be available on Natural8 and its GGPoker sister site. This will run 1 August through 12 September, though the official schedule for the 33 events is not yet available. There will also be a WSOP Europe at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. There will be 15 gold bracelet events, including a €10K WSOPE Main Event, all to take place 19 November through 8 December.

All of this is to say that there are many options for poker players around the world in 2021. But the actual WSOP in Las Vegas is the goal for many players. Can Aussies get there this year?

The answer is: probably.

Travel from Australia to America

Everything is subject to change. There are no guarantees that the United States will not have another surge of coronavirus cases and require the WSOP in Las Vegas to adjust. There is no promise that a new coronavirus variant won’t change all plans.

However, the World Series of Poker decision-makers are optimistic. There are likely contingent plans in place, but for now, everything will move forward as normal.

At this time – the end of June and beginning of July – Australia is permitting some of its citizens to fly to some countries. And to do so, they must be 50 years of age or younger and verify that travel is for business, unavoidable, or on compelling grounds. This will permit them to receive a vaccination and leave Down Under. Professional poker players may have an easier time receiving travel exemptions for these reasons.

Find the latest information on the Aussie Covid-19 website or use the contact information on that web page to speak with someone.

On the other hand, the US Embassy webpage for Aussies notes that the only requirement for Australians to travel to the United States is a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of travel. If a person had Covid-19, that traveler must provide documentation from a licensed health care provider that they have been recovered from the virus for at least 90 days prior to the travel date.

The US Embassy website seems to provide more updated information than the Aussie website.

Ultimately, it seems that the increasing prevalence of vaccines will lead to eased travel restrictions going forward. By September – fingers crossed – travel between the two countries should be wide open. It might be a good idea to buy travel insurance, just in case, anyway.

Staying in Las Vegas

There is no quarantine period for people arriving in Las Vegas. Sin City has been open for business for months with few to no restrictions. As a gambling city should be, it is willing to risk everything.

For accommodations in Las Vegas, the easiest place for WSOP players to stay will be at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino itself. It is slightly off the Las Vegas Strip, but it requires no transportation to get to and from the tournaments. Across the street is the Gold Coast Casino, an older and smaller hotel and casino but one that offers lower prices. The walk to the Rio is short and direct.

Some players in town for longer periods choose to stay just down the street at Extended Stay America Valley View. The walk requires a few extra minutes. It is not pleasant in the summertime when the temperatures exceed 100 degrees, but it will likely be much nicer in the fall months. The extra benefit of staying at the Extended Stay is that they offer mini-kitchen amenities and a separated living room and bedroom.

The Rio is currently operating under the Caesars Entertainment banner. All of the Caesars-operated casinos in Las Vegas are offering a special booking code for WSOP players. By using the “WSOPM” code, the special rates are lower than usual. They can be as low as $47 per night. The casinos included in the deal are:

  • Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
  • Caesars Palace & Nobu Hotel
  • Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
  • Paris Las Vegas
  • Flamingo Las Vegas
  • Harrah’s Las Vegas
  • Bally’s Las Vegas
  • The Linq Hotel & Experience
  • The Cromwell

There is a web page dedicated to all Caesars hotels in Las Vegas, which provides their prices in a comparison chart, as well as availability and booking information.

Before Arriving in Las Vegas

When packing for the trip, the passport is obvious. Players from Australia – or any country outside of the United States – must bring an additional form of identification. In fact, to be safe, bring two or three. For any players who cash in a WSOP event, they will likely be required to sign up for an ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) with the US government. The WSOP cashiers will be able to handle it and sign players up for their numbers, but they will need something to prove their residential address, such as a signed lease or mortgage agreement, utility bill, or mobile phone bill.

All players should download a mobile app called “Bravo Poker Live.” It will be the tool to make all WSOP transactions much easier. Players can register for tournaments online, verifying their identifications once upon arrival. From that point forward, players can register and pay for tournaments via the app. They can then visit a self-service kiosk in the Rio Convention Center to print their seat cards. It avoids lines and carrying cash.

Registration will begin in August, with details to be announced at a later date.

 

 

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