LAS VEGAS (AP) — The World Series of Poker plans to return to live, in-person play for a nearly eight-week tournament in Las Vegas later this year, parent company Caesars Entertainment Inc. said Thursday.

Organizers say they hope the event, held since 1970 in Las Vegas, will return to pre-pandemic form and draw as many entrants as the record 187,000 players it hosted in 2019 at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. A year earlier, it drew nearly 124,000.

Ty Stewart, WSOP executive director, said the goal is for players to get COVID-19 vaccines, travel to Las Vegas, “and bring this community of poker lovers back together.”

In 2020, the event adopted a hybrid online format due to COVID-19 restrictions. It had 1,379 entrants compete for a $13.2 million prize pool. The championship was in December.

Play this year is scheduled Sept. 30 to Nov. 23. The main event, a $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, is expected to begin Nov. 4 and run through Nov. 17.

Caesars said it plans to post complete information April 15 on its website about a summer online tournament schedule.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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