Get COVID-19 Vaccine or You Don’t Play in Highstakes Bellagio Cash Games Warns Eli Elezra4 weeks ago
The Bellagio, an iconic hotel and casino for poker players and gamblers, as well as famous to the wider world for its fountain and appearances in the Ocean’s Eleven movie franchise, boasts 37 poker tables and hosts the annual WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic.
However, it’s the highstakes cash games that attract the likes of Elezra and fellow legends of the game such as Doyle Brunson, Jungleman Dan Cates and Phil Ivey that have made it truly famous in the poker world.
These highstakes games take place in what is now called the “Legends Room” having changed its name from “Bobby’s Room” late last year after Bobby Baldwin left the MGM Resorts family for pastures new.
It’s almost certainly the two tables inside that iconic room that Elezra is referring to with the “ban” on unvaccinated players, and Twitter was soon on fire – antivaxxers leading the way...
The responses were split between those who reject vaccinations and regularly dismiss the science behind it as scaremongering or worse, as above, and those who want to follow the best advice for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the latter, English poker legend, the Hendon mobster Barney Boatman...
Of course, the hullabaloo around COVID-19 and poker has been much in the news this past week, with the WSOP releasing their own rules on how the upcoming World Series of Poker will deal with COVID-19 and its related issues.
Their initial plans stated that:
"In accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control, [Rio] reserves the right to remove any Participant from any WSOP Event at any time prior to or during the WSOP Event."
That referred to anyone who had tested positive for the virus, or had come into contact with anyone who tested positive, as well as those who refuse to take part in health screening during the series.
The inevitable outcry over buy-ins not being returned to those evicted from events, as well as other more opaque reasons, led the WSOP to clarify matters shortly afterwards.
Chris Moneymaker had already made it clear he wasn’t taking any chances, revealing he wouldn’t be playing the Series through fear of catching and passing the virus on to his young asthmatic son.
Alex Foxen, on the other hand, was among the anti-vaxxers who took issue with the entire concept of regulating the World Series, stating:
“When they require a vaccine to be around others who are vaccinated knowing it doesn’t prevent spread...”Foxen, who is not known for his medical or scientific background but shares vaccine-skeptic links daily on his Twitter feed, has not stated whether he will play this year’s WSOP or not.
It does appear, however, that he won’t be welcome in the highstakes Bellagio games anytime soon if Eli Elezra and friends have any say in the matter.
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