- »WSOP Announces 2020 Main Event Online and Live
WSOP Announces 2020 Main Event Online and Live
The World Series of Poker never stops working to keep players included. In 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, the WSOP staff has more of an opportunity to do that than ever before.
Without the ability to hold any live events since March 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions worldwide, the WSOP took everything online. It hosted online WSOP Circuit events for US players on WSOP.com and for international players on GGPoker and Natural8. It did the same for the summer World Series of Poker that is traditionally held in Las Vegas each year. Covid forced the cancellation of WSOP Europe this year, too.
The summer WSOP 2020 was a massive success. When it closed out in September, the series of 54 international tournaments generated $147,789,550 in prize money from 239,754 tournament entries from 166 nations, including Australia.
The 2020 WSOP Main Event also set a Guinness World Record for the largest online poker tournament ever with a $27,559,500 prize pool. And Stoyan Madanzhiev won the largest online tournament prize ever when he claimed $3,904.685.
As it turns out, that Main Event was only a teaser. The WSOP just announced the real 2020 WSOP Main Event, which will take place online and live before the end of the year.
Online and Live?
They are calling it a hybrid online and live WSOP Main Event. No matter its designation, it will be the official $10,000 buy-in WSOP No Limit Hold’em World Championship of 2020.
It will begin for all players online with the hopes of playing two final tables live and then a live heads-up match in Las Vegas on December 30. There will also be a $1 million added prize for the last leg of the journey.
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said, “There must be a World Champion in 2020. Poker’s history is too important. It’s a unique format for the Main Event, but this is a unique year. We want to keep players’ health and safety top of mind and still deliver a great televised showcase for the game we love.”
Starting Online and Moving to Live
Let’s lay out the format.
First up will be the international Main Event. It will play on GGPoker and Natural8, which both operate on the GGNetwork and share the same tables and player pools. The schedule is as follows:
- Day 1A: Sunday, November 29 (first of three starting flights, no reentries)
- Day 1B: Saturday, December 5 (second of three starting flights, no reentries)
- Day 1C: Sunday, December 6 (third and final starting flight, no reentries)
- Day 2: Monday, December 7 (playdown to final table of nine players)
- Final Table: Tuesday, December 15 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic
Days before that final table, the US portion of the WSOP Main Event will begin. Players located in Nevada (home of Las Vegas) and New Jersey (home of Atlantic City) will be able to pay on WSOP.com for the first two days. The schedule will be:
- Day 1: Sunday, December 13 (no alternate starting flights, no reentries)
- Day 2: Monday, December 14 (playdown to final table of nine players)
- Final Table: Monday, December 28 at the Rio in Las Vegas
The live final tables will obviously be subject to the coronavirus trajectory and Covid-19 regulations. If there is any way to get the players to the live venues to play their final tables, the WSOP will do what it takes to make it happen. It appears as though the World Series will also pay for flights, hotel accommodations, and travel expenses, though this is not confirmed.
If a player chooses not to play the live final table, despite safety precautions offered by the WSOP, that player can accept the ninth-place payout and end his or her run at that point.
One of the primary reasons for the live final tables is to film them for television. ESPN will film the action in the United States, though it is unclear if it will be ESPN or another company that will film at King’s Casino. More information will emerge in the coming weeks regarding the broadcasts.
Heads-Up in Las Vegas
With those two events playing out, there will be two winners. However, neither will be the Main Event World Champion. There’s more.
The winner of the US tournament will already be in Las Vegas, obviously, but the international winner will travel to Las Vegas, coronavirus situation permitting.
The two winners will then play a heads-up tournament on Wednesday, December 30 at the Rio in Sin City. (If the international player is under 21 – GG allows players to compete at 18 years of age – the WSOP will change the location and date of the heads-up match.)
Since both already took their respective first-place prizes, the two finalists will play for additional money. The WSOP and GGPoker will put $1 million on the table for the winner. ESPN will film the action.
The last player standing will win the $1 million and the WSOP Main Event bracelet, along with the coveted title of official 2020 WSOP Main Event World Champion.
Natural8 doesn’t offer online poker to players located in Australia because of Australian laws. However, players who are willing to travel to neighboring countries – New Zealand? Indonesia? Singapore? – can participate without issue.
There are some sites that offer online poker for Australians, but Natural8 and GGPoker cannot do so per the regulatory requirements associated with their licensing.