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World Series Of Poker Returns, Aiming To Award 88 Bracelets And Steer Clear Of COVID from US Bets' Eric Raskin

Some games can be played without crowds. Not the World Series of Poker. The crowd is the game.

After a 2020 in which, due to a global pandemic, the only in-person WSOP action came in the form of two COVID-tested final tables and one heads-up match, poker’s signature series returns Thursday at 11 a.m. Vegas time for the start of the 2021 edition.

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The WSOP is billing it as the “52nd annual” series, which it certainly would be if the event — which began in 1970 with high-stakes cash games at Binion’s Horseshoe and with Johnny Moss voted the champion in a poll of his peers — had happened in 2020. It didn’t. Not really. But there were 31 online bracelets awarded in the U.S. in 2020. And, apply as many asterisks as you like, there was a world champion crowned. So … close enough, the WSOP decided.

For what it’s worth, most World Series literature is playing it safe and going simply with “2021 WSOP.”

Speaking of playing it safe, the biggest topic of discussion and debate leading up to the Series has been COVID protocols. In light of the Delta variant’s surge from mid-summer on, Caesars Entertainment made the decision to require proof of vaccination from all WSOP participants.


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