Heading to the Las Vegas Strip
After nearly two decades, the World Series of Poker is leaving the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. During the 2021 WSOP final table on Tuesday night, Caesars announced that starting in 2022, the WSOP will be held jointly at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas. For the first time since the WSOP’s inception in 1970, the Series will take place on the Las Vegas Strip.
In addition to the change of venue, the 2022 World Series of Poker will also move back to the middle of year, slated for May 31-July 19. After being canceled last year because of the pandemic (save for a late hybrid online/live Main Event), the 2021 WSOP was shifted to the fall because of the uncertainty and safety measures needed in these COVID-19 times.
“As we approach the Final Table, we look back on yet another successful Main Event that exceeded expectations,” said World Series of Poker senior vice president Ty Stewart in a press release issued a short time ago. “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.”
Tell me that wasn’t money
That Vince Vaughn mention deserves a bit of an explanation. The accomplished actor and frequent participant in high stakes Hollywood home poker games has signed on to be the 2022 WSOP Master of Ceremonies. He was on hand at last night’s final table to share in the news of both the WSOP’s move and his involvement. Vaughn also had the honor of announcing, “Shuffle up and deal!” to start the final table competition.
“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,” Vaugn said in the press release. “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!”
From humble beginnings
The World Series of Poker debuted in 1970 as a series of cash games among just a handful of the world’s best players in order to showcase poker to the public. Johnny Moss was voted by the other players as the Series’ first champion. The more traditional tournament format began the following year.
the final two days of the Main Event were still held at Binion’s
Binion’s Horseshoe hosted the WSOP for three and a half decades. The combination of the poker boom in 2003 and Caesars’ (then Harrah’s) 2004 acquisition of Binion’s and the Horseshoe and World Series of Poker brands led to the WSOP being moved to the Rio in 2005, just short jaunt off the Strip. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Las Vegas, the final two days of the Main Event were still held at Binion’s.
With the growth of the Series over the years and the decline in quality of the Rio, it had been rumored for a long time that Caesars was looking to move the WSOP. A venue change essentially became a lock in September 2019, when Caesars sold the Rio to Dreamscape Companies for $516.3m. Caesars still operates the property, but the rental agreement with Dreamscape lasts through December 2023 at most, making a move to the Strip inevitable.