COVID-19 Wreaking Havoc on 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event Home Stretch

Two players’ plans gone awry

The US Bracket final table of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event is today, but one of the nine players will be sitting it out. In news first broken by poker podcaster and vlogger Joey Ingram, Upeshka De Silva tested positive for COVID-19 and has been disqualified from the competition. Upsehka later confirmed that his latest positive test result was Sunday.

Per World Series of Poker rules, De Silva will receive ninth place money, $98,813. He entered final table play in eighth place. The minimum payout for the remaining players is now $125,885.

The final table will commence at 3pm PT as the eight players battle for a first prize of more than $1.5m.

denied entry into the States because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions

In addition to Monday’s final table problem, it now appears that the heads-up match between the US Bracket and International Bracket winners is delayed until January 2, 2021. International Bracket champ Damian Salas was denied entry into the States because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions, despite testing negative for the virus.

De Silva must settle for ninth

On Twitter, after Ingram announced the unfortunate wrench thrown into the final table works, De Silva explained that he had minor allergy symptoms on December 15 and 16, but they disappeared. He added that the possibility of contracting the virus did not seem like a possibility, as he had been quarantining since December 10.

But on December 20, eight days before the event, he took a shower and could not smell the soap. As loss of smell is a symptom of COVID-19, he got a test that day and ended up with his first positive result.

“I don’t want you to say anything, just answer yes or no”

De Silva said that when he spoke with WSOP tournament director Jack Effel the following day, the first thing Effel said was “I don’t want you to say anything, just answer yes or no, did you test positive today.”

As “today” was December 21, De Silva said no and Effel told him “ok I’ll see you Sunday for the test.” De Silva added that Effel offered no plan or guidance on the situation. He also said he was scared that if he made a public announcement about his positive test, he wouldn’t even get the chance to have another test and would just face immediate disqualification.

De Silva later tested negative for COVID-19 on December 26 and positive on December 27, resulting in his ouster from the tournament.

International winner blocked from United States

As for Damian Salas’s predicament, the winner of the WSOP Main Event International Bracket is scheduled to compete against the US winner this coming Wednesday, December 30, at the Rio in Las Vegas. According to what he told CodigoPoker, however, he was denied entry into the country because he was in Europe within the last 15 days, competing in the International Bracket final table at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

he was informed that the Dallas gatekeepers did not accept his exemption

Salas tested negative for COVID-19 and received a “certificate of exemption” from the World Series of Poker that was supposed to let him bypass the waiting period. He told CodigoPoker that 15 minutes before he was to head to the airport for his flight to Dallas, he was informed that the Dallas gatekeepers did not accept his exemption.

He was then instructed to fly through Miami instead, but Miami also blocked him. Saying that he was “very dissatisfied” with the turn of events, Salas now plans to begin his travel on Wednesday and arrive in the US on Thursday. The heads-up match for the 2020 WSOP Main Event title will now be on January 2, 2021.

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