April 25, 2019 Poker Gossip, Poker News Petr Černý

The future of the home of the WSOP is uncertain – Will the Rio be demolished?

When the lights went out at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas last year during the World Series of Poker, it was just a temporary glitch caused by a leaking roof.

However, this month’s rumours that the iconic poker venue will be sold off and demolished looks to be a more permanent problem…will the players have a roof over their heads at all?

For those who got into the game in the years following Chris Moneymaker’s epic 2003 victory, the RIO All-Suites Casino and Hotel is pretty much synonymous with the biggest prize in poker.

Joe Hachem took the first Main Event gold bracelet hosted at 3700 W Flamingo Rd and the list of champions crowned there includes Jamie Gold, Joe Cada, Greg Merson and last year’s victor John Cynn.

Joe Hachem WSOP Main Event 2005

News that it might be sold off and torn down to make way for a railway station, or some other non-poker undertaking such as MLB or NBA stadia, had pros and fans alike worried for this year’s event.

However, the WSOP were quick to allay fears for its 50th Anniversary series and 15th time at the Rio, with 89 bracelet events and countless side events due to get underway in a little over 5 weeks…

That will be music to at least one pros ears, Vanessa Kade’s virtual prop bet guaranteed to finish in the right spot it seems…

…but what the future holds is uncertain. Rumours last year that Harrahs were planning to punt the off-strip Rio and move the series to the under-construction Caesars Forum…

…forced Caesars Entertainment, owners of the WSOP, to issue a denial that 2020 would see the World Series taking place elsewhere.

In an email to USPoker they stated: “We have had no discussions to move the WSOP. We consider the Rio its home for the foreseeable future.”


 With the New York Post and others claiming that Caesars Entertainment as a whole will be up for sale in the very near future, that confidence may well be misplaced.

The World Series of Poker has visited only two Vegas casinos in its long and illustrious history, starting in less-than-salubrious surrounding in Binion’s Horseshoe with “Thirty or so gamblers shoehorned around a few poker tables” as Nolan Dalla described the inaugural 1970 event.


The series has grown massively since Johnny Moss was ‘elected’ to be World Champion of Poker – none of the other players wanting to have the media attention according to Doyle Brunson.

Last year saw the Rio process almost 24,000 entries across the series, with 7,874 in the Main Event alone – the second highest ever. If the resurgence of the game and the WSOP continues, perhaps another move is inevitable?

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