Chris Moneymaker May Yet Play the WSOP after Vaccine Mandate Splits Poker Community

9 months ago
Chris Moneymaker May Yet Play the WSOP after Vaccine Mandate Splits Poker Community
06 Sep

Chris Moneymaker may yet play this year’s World series of Poker after the organisers mandated that players must be vaccinated to compete in this summer’s events.

The 2003 Main Event champ had tweeted out his sadness at having to avoid the event due to concerns over catching Covid-19 and passing it on.

Chris wrote last month:

“REALLY hate it but canceled my trip to El Paso and Vegas for the @WSOP. My 9 year old can't be vaccinated and I do not want to bring the virus home to him. @ACR_POKER #nextyearihope.”

However, last week the WSOP released a new rule for this year’s series, mandating that all players must be vaccinated at least 14 days prior to playing or they will not be allowed to compete.

The WSOP statement read in part:

“Participants will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 one time, upon first registration, to become eligible to participate in WSOP events, including bracelet events, deep stack tournaments, satellites and live action games.”
That had some of the poker world’s biggest names taking to Twitter in outrage, Kristen Bicknell and Alex Foxen leading poker’s anti-vaxxer movement, with Mike Matusow, Steven van Zadelhoff and Tim O’Reilly not far behind.

For those players with vulnerable family and friends, however, the WSOP decision has raised their hopes of being able to attend the series with far less chance of contracting and passing on the Covid-19 virus.

Moneymaker, whose daughter has already had and recovered from the virus, also revealed several other reasons for avoiding unnecessary contact:

“Neighbor died, uncle about to die, kid’s friend in hospital, poker player I know died, know of about 10 people in my circle battling it,” Chris tweeted last month, adding: “I am living my life, just away from others.”

However, this week he stated the WSOP vaccine mandate “raises the likelihood a lot” of him going to Vegas, adding:

“As it gets closer will see for sure...will wait and see how things shake out but most likely yea.”

For those considering ways to get around the vaccination mandate, Allen Kessler retweeted a warning...

Covid-19 restrictions were always likely to hurt the numbers turning up at this year’s live version of the WSOP, but it remains to be seen whether the new rules have a positive or negative effect.

With the series scheduled to start on September 30th, we don’t have too long until we find out.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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