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COVID-19 costs Upeshka De Silva chance at $1.5M World Series of Poker prize

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Upeshka De Silva is dealing with a COVID bad beat.

The poker pro was disqualified from the World Series of Poker this week after he tested positive for the coronavirus. De Silva had advanced to the final table in the online portion of the event that whittled the field from 705 down to nine. But the final nine players were to meet in person Monday at Las Vegas’ Rio Casino to determine the US champion.

“I tested negative on a nasal swab pcr test saturday the 26th, but positive on the official mouth swab pcr test at the rio on the 27th,” De Silva, who was in eighth place heading into the final table, tweeted.

The final table went on without him Monday, with Joseph Hebert claiming the top prize of $1,553,256. De Silva got $98,813 for finishing ninth.

“This whole experience has been an absolute s–t show,” De Silva wrote. “I know I’m drawing slim for options but I want to get the story out at the least about how this was handled and the protocols that were put in place. I have insight on how both wpt (World Poker Tour) and wsop (World Series of Poker) have handled covid.”

Hebert is now expected to face Damian Salas — the international champion — in a heads-up match to determine the world champion.

Salas was denied entry into the US from Europe over COVID protocols, despite testing negative. The final showdown was pushed back from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2 to accommodate Salas.

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