Sports | March 13, 2020 3:07 pm

Is the World Series of Poker a Health Risk for Participants?

Concerns over the safety of the environment have been raised

World Series of Poker
Is the World Series of Poker putting its competitors at risk?
Dutch Boyd/Creative Commons

The last week has seen an abundance of high-profile events being canceled, postponed or otherwise altered — ranging from major sporting events to literary festivals. One that still appears to be going strong, however, is the World Series of Poker. The 51st edition of this competition is set to begin on May 26 in Las Vegas.

A new article by Chris Baud in Deadspin makes a convincing case that this might be a bad idea. Why? Because the very nature of poker games involve long stretches where players sit in close proximity to one another and pass cards back and forth. It could very well be, as Baud phrases it, “the ultimate breeding ground for a deadly virus.”

Baud also notes that the World Series of Poker has yet to provide any additional information on their COVID-19 preparedness.

On Feb. 27, the WSOP account on Twitter responded to a user: “We are monitoring COVID-19 developments and have no plans to cancel WSOP.” Since then, it’s been radio silence.

Given that this is at a time when entities from the New York Public Library to Chop’t are being very transparent about their coronavirus plans, this lack of communication feels particularly disconcerting.

Earlier today, the World Series of Poker did announce the postponement of some upcoming events, however.

But the WSOP’s website and Twitter feed don’t have any other information on postponements or rescheduled events. It’s a confusing dearth of information — and one that could have dangerous consequences.

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