- The World Series of Poker will be moving to the Las Vegas Strip in 2022 with events held at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas.
- The event has been held at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino for the past 17 years.
- The 2022 WSOP will also return to its traditional summer dates running from May 31 to July 19.
The 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event has just wrapped up in Las Vegas with Koray Aldemir topping the field of 6,650 entries to win $8 million USD but organizers are already looking ahead to next year. The Caesars Entertainment owned poker tournament has madeseveral significant announcements about the future of the iconic event with the biggest being a first ever move to the Las Vegas Strip.
Beginning with the 53rd annual World Series of Poker in 2022, the event is moving to a pair of Caesars’ Strip properties–Bally’s Las Vegas and the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Also announced was a return to the traditional summer scheduling of the WSOP. The 2022 event will run from May 31 to July 19 after the past two WSOPs had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the live version of the WSOP fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic with a substitute competition held online. The only part of the competition that was played live was the final table of the ‘Main Event’ though even that broke with tradition as a a separate final table was held for US players at the Rio Las Vegas and for international players at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic. The winner of each table met in a live heads up match at the Rio on January 3, 2021 to determine the champion. Ultimately, Damian Salas claimed the main event and the $1 million USD top prize. The 2021 WSOP returned to a full schedule of live play though it was moved from the traditional summer dates to September 30 through November 22.
The move out of the Rio was made necessary due to Caesars’ sale of the property to New York City based Dreamscape Companies in 2019. Under terms of the agreement, Caesars continues to operate the Rio while paying rent to Dreamscape until no later than December 2023. While the exact timetable of the transition is unclear what is apparent is that the new ownership group is not planning to implode the Rio and use the land for another type of project–at least not in the short term. At least that’s what Dreamscape Companies LLC executives Eric Birnbaum and Thomas Ellis told the Nevada Gaming Control Board at a suitability hearing in 2021. Again, specifics aren’t known but Dreamscape plans to renovate the property–they will give it what Birnbaum called a ‘monster refresh’ as well as a revamped food/beverage/entertainment mix.
In addition to the move from the Rio to the Strip, the WSOP is bringing actor Vince Vaughan on board to serve as the tournament’s Master of Ceremonies. Vaughan has been inextricably linked to Las Vegas ever since his star making role in the 1996 film Swingers and WSOP Senior Vice President Ty Stewart says that his involvement will be part of a ‘new era’ for the event:
“As we approach the Final Table, we look back on yet another successful Main Event that exceeded expectations. We are absolutely thrilled with this year’s turnout, both domestically and internationally. As we close out this chapter at the Rio, we are excited to have the iconic Vince Vaughn usher in a new era of WSOP at Bally’s and Paris next summer.”
Vaughan is himself an avid poker player and is looking forward to his new gig presiding over the WSOP:
“I have such a strong connection to Las Vegas and am honored to be selected as the Master of Ceremonies for what is set to be the most anticipated World Series of Poker tournament ever. Poker has long been one of my favorite sports, so to be a part of something as historic as the WSOP finally moving to the Strip is an absolute dream. Vegas Baby, Vegas!”
The WSOP has been played at three venues since it began in 1969. Much like the Super Bowl, it wasn’t originally known by the current name–it was part of an event called the ‘Texas Gambling Reunion’. And here’s a great trivia fact–the first World Series of Poker was held at the Holiday Hotel & Casino in Reno. Although the Holiday closed in 1998, the Siena Hotel Spa Casino would open on the same site in 2001 after extensive remodeling. In 2017, it was once again renovated and operates to this day, now known as the Marriott operated Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel & Spa. One major difference–it is no longer offers gaming though it *does* have the only indoor/outdoor bocce ball court in Northern Nevada.
The official start of the World Series of Poker came in 1970 and the event moved approximately 438 miles south to downtown Las Vegas. It would be contested annually at Binion’s Horseshoe until 2005. In 2004, Harrah’s Entertainment purchased Binion’s Horseshoe then sold the casino to the MTR Gaming Group but kept the rights to the World Series of Poker. The WSOP moved to the Rio Hotel and Casino in 2005, though the final two days of the main event were held at Binion’s downtown. In 2006, the entire event moved to the Rio where it has remained until the recent announcement of the impending move to the Las Vegas Strip for 2022.