Super High Roller players reach ‘Covid Contract’ deal on second day of event

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on 11/20/2021

A majority of players participating in the 2021 WSOP Event 82, $250,000 Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em reached a private agreement on a so-called ‘Covid contract’ as action began on Friday’s second day of action. The deal included a signed contract for all but a couple of the event’s remaining Day 2 players. It guaranteed that any player who tested positive for the coronavirus would then be refunded the $250,000 entry fee out of the event’s prize pool.

The deal will likely not be needed for today’s Day 3 conclusion in the event. All five remaining players in the Super High Roller are guaranteed to cash. If one of the five tests positive and is forced to withdraw, he would be guaranteed at least a $632,124 fifth-place payout. Top money in the event is $3,265,362. Spain’s Adrian Mateos holds the inside track, as he holds over half of all the chips in play.

The deal was instigated after one of the event’s likely entrants, Chris Brewer, confirmed that he had tested positive before play began in the event on Thursday:

Dan Smith proposed testing, refund of entries

Brewer and several others among poker’s elite, super-high-roller crowd competed in an event at the Aria in recent days. Poker’s super high rollers tend to compete against each other on a continuing basis, with only the venue itself changing.

A few hours after Brewer’s Tweet, another of the super high rollers, Dan Smith, proposed the idea of having all of the Event 82 players take a Covid test. All the players would then consider an agreement to receive a part of the prize pool, based on ICM calculations, if they tested positive for the virus and were forced to withdraw from the event.

Though the matter was not significantly discussed further on Twitter, it likely generated a lot of consideration between the players themselves overnight on Thursday. By the time Friday’s Day 2 began, Germany’s Christoph Vogelsang arrived with a contract that participating players could sign, while a batch of rapid-test kits for the players’ use were available at a nearby table.

Christoph Vogelsang on Day 1 action in the Super High Roller (Image: Haley Hintze)
Christoph Vogelsang on Day 1 action in the Super High Roller (Image: Haley Hintze)

Only one player (reputedly a European) rejected the proposed deal outright, which had changed overnight from Smith’s ICM proposal to a more simplified refund of the $250,000 entry fee. A second player agreed verbally but would not commit to signing the ‘Covid contrract,’ so he too was likely excluded from the formal deal. Perhaps two dozen players agreed to the save, as it’s termed in poker, due to the unusual circumstances.

Davies confirmed no positive tests were recorded on Day 2

Another of the super high roller’s remaining players, Seth Davies, reported to PokerNews that none of the contract’s participating players tested positive on Day 2. With the players now on Day 3 and in the money, the contract’s creation will stand more as a curious footnote than anything else.

The PokerNews update also stated that all players were required to take a rapid test. By “all,” however, it meant the test was required for those who wished to take part in the contract drawn up by Vogelsang. The tests themselves were probably obtained by one of the super high rollers themselves. The WSOP has not done any rapid testing of players, to this writer’s best knowledge. With that said, the series does have rules in place for the removal of players who do test positive for the virus.

Featured image source: Haley Hintze