World Series of Poker postponed amid coronavirus pandemic as organizers target autumn dates

The 51st World Series of Poker has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers are now targeting this fall to hold poker's most prestigious event. The exact dates and format are to be determined.

"We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being," Ty Stewart, executive director of the World Series of Poker, said in a statement.

The World Series of Poker was slated to begin May 26 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, with dozens of tournaments taking place leading up to the $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event on July 1.

In March, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the state's casinos to cease operations until at least April 30 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

WSOP officials said the schedule will be revisited and changes are expected.

"In the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer," Stewart said. "We will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes."

Online poker has seen an uptick in interest with many around the globe staying home to fight the pandemic. In March, PokerStars hosted an international online tournament that set records for number of entries and prize pool, and WSOP told ESPN that its online events were on pace to set records as well.