Chris Moneymaker has indicated that he is reconsidering the idea of attending the World Series of Poker this year. The 2003 WSOP Main Event champion announced in early August that he would not be attending this year.
In the announcement, he cited concerns about the Delta variant and the risks to his family.
However, in response to the new vaccine mandate issued by the WSOP, it appears that he is considering changing his mind. So maybe we will get to see him compete for his second bracelet again.
“Participation in the 2021 WSOP will require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 prior to first registration,” wrote the WSOP on Twitter. “Players are encouraged to make use of CLEAR’s free mobile app and Health Pass feature.”
While the reaction was predictably mixed, Moneymaker was wholly positive about the WSOP’s decision to mandate vaccines for the upcoming series.
Moneymaker retweeted the WSOP’s message with a simple “Thank you @WSOP,” as a caption.
Moneymaker’s Twitter-followers then asked the natural follow-up question—would he be attending the event, given the new rules?
His answer was hopeful but not entirely committal. “This raises the likelihood a lot,” he wrote in reply to the queries.
We’ve already seen a lot happen in just a few weeks. Plenty more could happen before the series kicks off, or at any point in its eight week run.
Who will be attending the WSOP?
“REALLY hate it but canceled my trip to El Paso and Vegas for the @WSOP,” Moneymaker wrote in early August. “My 9-year-old can’t be vaccinated and I do not want to bring the virus home to him.”
Some critics felt that Moneymaker’s desire to keep his kid from getting ill at all was an insufficient reason to quit the series. To those critics, Moneymaker explained that his child is also asthmatic and, as such, is at a higher risk of serious complications.
Moneymaker may still reconsider attending the WSOP. Breakout cases will remain a risk even in a vaccinated population.
Then there is the risk that comes from the WSOP’s decision to allow unvaccinated dealers to run the tables. The combination of the pandemic and the WSOP’s notorious working conditions has made for a seller’s labor market. Even with offers of $15 downs, the WSOP hasn’t been able to hire enough vaccinated dealers.
In the end, it may not be a choice he gets to make. Moneymaker doesn’t play a lot of events when he does attend—though he seldom misses the main event. If he doesn’t grab some of the early events he may find his mind made up for him.
The possibility of the WSOP turning into a superspreader event remains on the table. With that risk comes the possibility of mid-series cancellation. We currently have the chances of all events going ahead at just 50%.
Whichever way Moneymaker goes, this year’s WSOP will continue to be a contentious one.
Featured image source: Flickr by WPT