WSOP 2021 COVID vaccine

After much speculation, the World Series of Poker has decided to require that all attendees to the upcoming 2021 WSOP be vaccinated. The mandate includes not only players but media, spectators, vendors and WSOP staff. Players will need to provide proof of vaccination prior to registering for a WSOP event for the first time.

Speculation had ramped up that vaccinations might be required for the 2021 WSOP after the introduction of the so-called “Rule 115,” which gives the World Series of Poker the authority to remove a player for any reason. In response to some outrage over the rule, the WSOP had previously clarified that some of the stricter language applying to COVID-19 exposure would only apply to those who were not vaccinated.

Other rules

On its official 2021 WSOP page, the WSOP clarified some specifics centering around the change for this WSOP, notably that players would have to get their final vaccine dose at least 14 days prior to their entry to the WSOP. The timing of the requirement means that players would need to be fully vaccinated by September 16th to participate in the start of the WSOP on September 30th.

If playing in the WSOP Main Event, players would need to be vaccinated prior to October 21st. Note that a negative test will not allow you entry into the WSOP in place of a vaccine.

The rules not only apply to WSOP bracelet events, but also side events, satellites, live-action and cash games.

In addition to being required to show proof of vaccination, participants will also need to wear a mask with the WSOP citing “CDC guidelines and state mandates.” Players who test positive for COVID-19 but are vaccinated must not play an event for the next 14 days. The WSOP also asks that those who have symptoms of COVID-19 not attend the WSOP within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms.

If you wish to watch the World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, you will need to report to the “Belize Room” at the Rio to receive a “Spectators Pass.”

How to prove you have received the COVID-19 to play the WSOP

In order for players to prove that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19, they are encouraging all players based in the United States to use CLEAR’s Health Pass, which is available to both iOS and Android users. You can have CLEAR send you a text message link to the app by submitting your phone number. Alternatively, players can also download the CLEAR app from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Once the app has been downloaded, users are instructed to follow these steps:

  • Tap the “Health Pass” Title
  • Locate “WSOP” under “Sports and Events”
  • Follow prompts to enroll
  • Add proof of vaccination in one of three ways*
  • Players that have followed all steps can now register for the 2021 WSOP through the registration cage

Players can submit their proof of vaccination by scanning a SMART QR code, by linking directly to their vaccination provider or by uploading their CDC vaccination card. If you have alternative documentation, your verification must be verified at the Belize room prior to registration.

But what about international players?

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 will have a profound effect on players outside of the United States. Many countries that have elevated COVID-19 cases currently have travel bans to the United States, which will make it difficult, if not impossible for players to attend.

But even if you find a way around the restrictions, the World Series of Poker will prevent you from attending the event if you have traveled to locations identified by the federal, state or local governments as high-risk countries within the previous 14 days. These countries are listed on the U.S. Government’s COVID-10 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions page.


As with many issues surrounding COVID-19, opinion on the vaccination requirement has been divisive. Chris Moneymaker, who had previously said that he would not play the 2021 WSOP, is now contemplating participating. “Will wait and see how things shake out but most likely yeah [I will be going],” Moneymaker later tweeted.

Other players noted that other factors such as natural immunity should also be on the table:

While others hotly debated the requirements, other Twitter users found humor in the situation:

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