Ryan Laplante tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of WSOP

Jon Pill
Posted on: August 23, 2021 12:29 PDT

Ryan Laplante announced on Twitter today that he has tested positive for COVID. The professional poker player and co-founder of LearnProPoker said he'd had symptoms for a full week while testing negative. However, as of today, that changed. His symptoms ramped up and he is now testing positive for the coronavirus.

Laplante reported that he has lost his sense of smell and is in some pain. However, overall the symptoms are at the mild end of the COVID spectrum. Hopefully, he is keeping warm, hydrated, and away from other people.

"Just tested positive for covid," Laplante tweeted earlier today. "Took almost 7 days of having symptoms for me to lose smell. Multiple negative tests before while I had symptoms. Today woke up with sinus pain, couldn't smell much, so took test..."

He is still looking on the bright side though. Catching COVID may well have acted as a booster shot ahead of this year's WSOP.

"Mild symptoms, and will be well protected for WSOP," La Plante wrote.

With the Delta variant causing a huge number of breakthrough cases, infection is likely to be increasingly common. Luckily some combination of good health, vaccination, and beginner's luck seem to be helping Laplante enjoy a less-severe case of COVID.

When asked whether he had had one of the vaccines, "Yes of course," was Laplante's reply.

"Thankfully the vaccine has made my symptoms very mild," he added.

Plenty of poker pros—including Veronica Brill—wished Laplante a rapid recovery, as do the staff at Poker.org. Meanwhile, several other members of the poker community took Laplante's illness as an opportunity to win points for or against vaccination.

It is odd how often poker players need to be reminded of the difference between a statistical average and a single outcome.

Laplante's COVID fears for WSOP players

Lucky for Laplante, his COVID infection happened before the WSOP. The WSOP's current disqualification rules create a great deal of vulnerability for anyone who comes down with COVID during the series.

Laplante has an impressive WSOP record, to which he is no doubt anxious to add this year. The player has one WSOP bracelet from 2016's $565 PLO event. He took second in 2017's $1,500 NLH/PLO-mixed tourney. In addition to these finishes, he also made another eight final tables and scored around 80 cashes total at the WSOP over the last ten years.

It's just as well he got this out of the way when he did. Avoiding the Delta variant at the WSOP is looking like a tough sell. Even when masked, the long stints at table, recycled air, and the passing back and forth of chips are liable to test anyone's immune response.

Laplante's not terribly optimistic about the chances of anyone dodging COVID at the poker table. Even vaccinated players are unlikely to get a reprieve in his book.

"If you want to fade it you'll need to wear mask, even then while playing poker....gl," he wrote.

It should be noted that the vaccine is showing a large number of breakthrough cases (i.e. cases of COVID among vaccinated people). However, the rate of infection and severity of the disease both seem much lower among vaccinated groups.

Get well soon, Ryan.

Featured image source: Flickr by WPT