Upeshka De Silva was disqualified from the WSOP Main Event final table due to a positive COVID-19 test, and poker Twitter had some strong opinions on this controversial issue.
The final table took place at the Rio in Las Vegas on Monday evening. De Silva, a three-time bracelet winner, was supposed to be one of the nine players seated when play began. But he tested positive December 27 for the novel coronavirus.
Per the rules put in place that everyone knew about before the tournament began, any player testing positive for COVID-19 at the final table would be automatically disqualified and paid 9th place money. But the poker community had some interesting takes on this rule.
Was the ruling unfair?
Opinions on the decision to disqualify De Silva were quite diverse. Olivier Busquet, for example, refused to even play the tournament.
“I didn’t play the 10k fake main event and one major reason was because I wanted to avoid this possibility. The idea was ridiculous and the stated rules were terrible but they should not change them now under any circumstances whatsoever,” Busquet wrote.
Patrick Leonard, one of the top online pros, had a different view. He argues that the WSOP final tablists should have sat out until De Silva tested negative for COVID-19. They didn’t, however, as the final table ran as scheduled on Monday evening. Ryan Leng also echoed those sentiments.
“If the final 8 want to do something cool they can agree to give pesh 1% or themselves or something that seems like a decent spot for returning the equity,” Shaun Deeb suggested.
Many poker players, including high-stakes sports bettor and poker pro Haralabos Voulgaris argued the WSOP should pay De Silva out of pocket the value of an ICM chop, meaning instead of being paid 9th place money, he’d receive the value of his stack compared to the size of the prize pool.
“Didn’t a player from the GG FT fail to travel/test + & receive 9th? Are we only talking about this bc it’s happening here or bc we all like Pesh? Or is it cognitive dissonance pushing our ire toward wsop, demanding justice despite clearly stated rules? What’s the uproar about?” Matt Berkey wrote.
Berkey is correct that a player from the GGPoker Main Event final table was disqualified and paid 9th place money. But that player made his own decision to not travel from Japan to the Czech Republic. He didn’t test positive for COVID-19, which was the case with De Silva.
However, the World Series of Poker didn’t bend the rules or listen to the suggestions of the poker community. They stuck to the rules they set pre-tournament.
Featured image source: Twitter