All roads in poker might lead to the World Series of Poker, but at the 2021 WSOP, most of those roads travel through the Belize Room, a seldom-used office space some distance from the Rio Convention Center’s poker-playing area. The Belize Room has become the hub of the series’ COVID-19 vaccination policies. It has also become the first stop for most WSOP visitors.
The WSOP’s implementation of the CLEAR Health Pass system was announced several weeks ago. Despite the lead time and its relatively straightforward use, the process wasn’t quite hitch-free as the WSOP opened for business. However, the system worked in large part as it was designed.
As with all technical processes, downtime can occur, and that happened with the Belize Room’s hookup to CLEAR’s online database on September 29. That blocked a few early birds from avoiding the opening day’s long lines, but the issue was mostly resolved overnight. As this writer experienced first-hand, the CLEAR app can dump a previously loaded photo, requiring a reloaded pic on the fly while trying to pass the Belize Room process.
Live rollout not quite hiccup-free
A few other procedural bumps delayed other users. The CLEAR Health Pass background turns fully green once all required information has been uploaded and verified. For many players, however, that included a final step of verifying all the information, which they seemingly overlooked when initially downloading and installing the app. The end result: a mandatory trip to the Belize Room to finish that verification in person.
A handful of players expressed confusion about the process, after being redirected to the Belize Room. The WSOP’s Twitter czar, Kevin “KevMath” Mathers, quickly detailed how a correctly completed CLEAR sign up should appear:
The WSOP itself verified Mathers’ Tweet a short while later, posting, “IF your CLEAR app is the same color as @Kevmath’s below” — meaning the green backdrop — “and you do NOT have to verify your online registration, you can go directly to the WSOP cage and register for events. IF you do not have a CLEAR app, you still go to the Belize room to verify your vaccination status.”
The CLEAR app isn’t available outside the U.S., meaning that all international players must go through the extra Belize Room step no matter what. That also applies to any domestic players choosing not to use the app. Whether any players attempted to sidestep the WSOP’s vaccination verification process remains unclear. It would have been a time-consuming error in any case, given the long waiting times for event registration that players experienced on the WSOP’s opening day.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze