International online poker site GGPoker has announced a prominent promotional effort to send non-U.S. players to this autumn’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Titled the “Road to Vegas,” the promotion aims to send large numbers of players to the 2021 WSOP main event, which begins on November 4.
GGPoker is the WSOP’s official international online partner and is thus the only site, other than WSOP.com itself in the U.S., that is formally authorized to run main-event qualifiers. The promotion begins on August 1 and runs through late October. The Road to Vegas also starts up the same day as GGPoker’s international WSOP Online slate begins its month-long run. The increased traffic and crossover is designed to benefit both the online and live series offerings.
According to GGPoker, each winning qualifier will receive a $12,500 package that includes the following:
- $10,000 WSOP 2021 Main Event tournament entry
- Accommodation at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas for seven nights
- $1,250 for travel expenses
- Entry to the GGPoker WSOP Players Party
- GGPoker-branded merchandise
- Access to the GGPoker Platinum Lounge at the Rio
- Entry into a WSOP main event “last longest” promo, only for Road to Vegas qualifiers; the winner receives a second tournament package, this one to the next WSOP Europe series
GGPoker’s leading brand ambassador, Daniel Negreanu, said, “The WSOP Main Event is the most prestigious tournament on the planet. GGPoker’s Road To Vegas will allow players from all over the world to win their way in. I’ve been playing the Main Event since 1998. There’s no tournament like it. It’s every poker player’s dream to win it, including mine.” Negreanu will have other means to enter the WSOP main event, so he’ll be unlikely to be among the promo’s online competitors.
‘Road to Vegas’ might have extra pandemic meaning
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and various international traffic restrictions could impact GGPoker’s Road to Vegas promo. Most of the WSOP main event’s international participants come from European countries. For both the WSOP and GGPoker, that poses a problem.
The U.S. recently extended its ban on travelers arriving from European locales. That leaves would-be WSOP main event contestants from these countries needing to find a workaround. Multiple stories and threads on poker discussion forums have discussed one possible solution: travel to Mexico and quarantine there for 14 days before continuing on to the WSOP. The possibility of spending more than two weeks on the road before even reaching Las Vegas makes that road long indeed.
Las Vegas itself and its casino workforce are also under new mandates due to the surging rates of the Delta COVID variant. All such employees within Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, are now mandated to wear masks. A similar mask-wearing mandate could be extended to casino visitors, including WSOP players, by the time the series begins at the end of September.
Featured image source: visitlasvegas.com