Latest 2021 Wsop Information For Aussie Players

Many Australians remain on lockdown or under notable restrictions into September 2021. Overall, this makes travel to the United States for the 2021 World Series of Poker very difficult – even impossible in some cases. For those Aussies who have already departed their home country or those with permission to do so, the WSOP awaits in Las Vegas with a vaccine requirement and all the poker that a player could want.

WSOP Begins in One Month with Mandate

Technically, it begins in less than one month. After the 2020 cancellation of a live WSOP due to the global pandemic, organizers were determined to host the Las Vegas series live this year. And they are moving forward with it. The series of 88 tournaments will begin on 30 September and play through 23 November. The schedule remains unchanged from the time of its announcement in June.

What has changed is how players can participate. Since Covid-19 is still spreading at alarming rates in parts of the United States – where full vaccination rates remain around 50% or less despite a prevalence of vaccines – the WSOP had to decide how to safely host the games.

Players and spectators must now show proof of full vaccination against Covid-19.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said that it was not a decision taken lightly. “The nature of poker is to be in close proximity with your opponents for extended periods of time, and a seat at the World Series of Poker is a commitment for both our company and the participants. We want players to be excited for their return to the WSOP, while offering the greatest level of protection and limiting complications during the tournament this fall.”

What Players Must Do

The WSOP consulted with the United States’ Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as health and government officials for the state of Nevada and Las Vegas’ Clark County. They ultimately decided that a full-vaccination mandate was the best way forward.

The mandate requires players and spectators to be fully vaccinated, which means the final dose must be received at least 14 days prior to the date of entry. At this time, the WSOP accepts proof of the following vaccines as valid, with all requiring two doses except the Johnson & Johnson.

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
  • Oxford – AstraZeneca
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Covishield

When players show their vaccination proof the first time, they will then be in the WSOP system and exempt from needing to show it again for the rest of the series.

In addition, for players coming from outside of the US, the WSOP suggests that they be in the United States without any Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days prior to their WSOP entry date. This is not a mandate but a strong encouragement. In addition, anyone with any symptoms at all should not play until their symptoms disappear and they receive a negative Covid test. Again, this is not mandatory but strongly recommended.

At the current time, players and spectators must also wear masks. The state of Nevada currently requires masks in all casinos. In fact, people must wear masks in all large indoor gatherings at this time.

Changes Possible Before 30 September

As with Covid-19 itself, the mandates for Las Vegas are unpredictable. They could change at any time. The current increased mask mandates came from a severe increase of positive Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths within the last several months. The Delta variant of the virus spread quickly, and with less than 50% of the general population vaccinated, there was little in the way of herd immunity to stop it. When vaccination rates rise and case numbers decrease, mandates will be lifted.

At the beginning of September, the number of positive cases is finally decreasing for the state. In Clark County alone, there were more than 1,000 new cases per day in mid-August. That number fell below 900 but remains high. The number of hospitalizations and deaths have also slowly decreased in the past two weeks. This is likely due to a stronger push for vaccinations. And August has seen 6,000-8,000 vaccines administered each day. Fully vaccinated people now comprise 53.41% of Clark County residents, with 63.13% having received at least one dose.

The numbers change daily. This means that the state and local mandates may change, too. The Nevada government website dedicated to this information and the relevant statistics updates regularly.

For WSOP players, this means that they may lift the mask mandate by the time the WSOP begins. It is even more likely that they would remove that mandate by the time the WSOP Main Event begins on 4 November.

Everything depends upon the rate of Covid-19 spread and corresponding vaccinations.

WSOP officials are likely to require the vaccine regardless of the numbers. It is the best way to protect all players and satisfy state, local, and gaming officials.

Australia and US Travel Policies

These, too, regularly change.

The CDC offers recommendations for people traveling to the US but no mandates. They urge people to be fully vaccinated and delay travel if they are not. Travel providers like airlines do require masks, and there are some places in the United States that require masks – some restaurants, casinos, etc. – but there are no testing or quarantining requirements.

Australia is a different story. Only very recently did the Aussie government decide to switch from a goal of Covid-19 eradication to one of high vaccination. The strict lockdowns have been difficult for Aussies. However, only 36% of Australians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is setting the goal at 70% of Aussies over the age of 16 vaccinated by mid-October. But for now, the Australian Government’s ban remains on all Aussies traveling overseas.

The current exemptions to the ban include residents of other countries and “people whose travel is associated with essential work at offshore facilities.” People can apply to the Department of Home Affairs for an exemption to the current rules. There is a chance that a person’s job as a professional poker player could qualify as business that requires travel.

Returning to Australia after the WSOP could be just as much of a challenge, as there are few flights going to Australia for any reason. If able to find a flight home, Aussies will still need to prove a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours or less prior to the flight, wear a mask on flights and airports, and submit to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility upon the return to Australia.

Aussies Out?

It’s been a tough few years for Australian poker players. They lost access to major online poker sites like PokerStars and partypoker in the late 2010s. While there are still some options for Aussies to play online poker, it is nothing like it was during the poker boom.

Further, the pandemic closed most live poker spaces for a lot of 2020 and now into 2021. And now, with the travel restrictions in place, it is nearly impossible for Aussies to leave the country to play poker elsewhere and return in a timely manner. In fact, it is almost impossible to even leave Australia in the first place without a good reason for doing so.

Aussies have mostly been unable to play the WSOP Online events at Natural8 in the past month. And there will be very few of them who can make it to Las Vegas this year.

For those who find a way and do play the WSOP at the Rio, check out these helpful links for information:

 

 

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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