2020 WSOP Online Breaks Major Online Poker Records

  • The Main Event prize pool ($27.6m) and first prize ($3.9m) were both online poker records
  • The $50 buy-in, “Big 50” event drew more entries than any event in WSOP history
  • GGPoker’s portion of the WSOP Online attracted nearly 240k total entries
  • A total of $147.8m in prize money was generated across 54 GGPoker events
Pile of hundred dollar bills
The Main Event of the 2020 WSOP Online set the record for the largest online poker tournament prize pool of all time and the largest online poker first prize. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

GGPoker Main Event shatters previous marks

The 2020 World Series of Poker Online concluded this week and with it, set several poker tournament records. The WSOP Online was divided into two portions: the New Jersey/Nevada series on WSOP.com in July and the GGPoker series for international players from mid-July through early this week.

Main Event generated a prize pool of $27,559,500

Event #77, the 2020 WSOP Online $5,000 Main Event on GGPoker, became the largest online poker tournament of all time in terms of total prize pool. Attracting 5,802 entries, the Main Event generated a prize pool of $27,559,500, easily beating its $25,000,000 guarantee.

It broke the previous record, set by partypoker in 2018 with the $5,300 buy-in MILLIONS Online, which drew 4,367 entries and ended up with a $21,835,000 prize pool.

The 2020 WSOP Online Main Event also set the record for the largest online poker tournament prize ever awarded. Stoyan Madanzhiev won the tournament, banking $3,904,685. For comparison, the traditional World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas did not have a first prize that large until 2004, when Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, in the early days of the poker boom, won $5,000,000.

A third record was achieved in Event #71: Big 50. The $50 buy-in event, which was also the smallest WSOP buy-in of all time, attracted 44,576 entries, the most entries for any WSOP tournament in history.

Overall turnout impressive

In addition to the records, the 2020 WSOP Online also put up some impressive non-record-shattering numbers. There were 239,754 total entries during the GGPoker portion of the Series and $147,789,550 in total prizes paid out. An additional $354,756 was raised for the Caesars Cares charity, about three-quarters of which was raised by players, with the rest donated by GGPoker.

average prize pool across the 54 GGPoker tournaments was $2,736,844

A whopping 45 events had a prize pool of at least $1,000,000. Five had a prize pool that hit $5,000,000, while two eclipsed $10,000,000. The average prize pool across the 54 GGPoker tournaments was $2,736,844. Five tourneys had fields of 10,000 entries or more.

As for individual achievements, one player, Alex Stasiak, won two gold bracelets. Three women – Kristen Bicknell, Thi Truong, and Melika Razavi – won WSOP events. Thirty-nine players made multiple final tables, with five people making three of them. A total of 281 players cashed at least ten times and 203 players scored at least $100,000 in earnings.

Pandemic changed the poker landscape

The 2020 WSOP Online was necessary because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. While World Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, and even WSOP Circuit events had already been cancelled or postponed, WSOP management waited until only about five weeks before the scheduled start of the WSOP to finally announce the Series had to be shut down.

The original hope was to reschedule things for the fall, but at this point, there is little chance of that happening. Once the WSOP.com and GGPoker laid claim to over 80 events, each of them awarding an official bracelet, it was apparent that WSOP officials were unlikely to get anything going at the Rio later in the year.

Most Nevada casinos are open, though the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, home of the WSOP since 2005, is one of the few that is still closed. Poker was one of the slowest gambling offerings to restart in Las Vegas, as health and safety is more difficult in a poker room environment.

This week, the Venetian poker room became the first in Las Vegas to host a live, multi-table tournament series. The DeepStack Showdown has attracted anywhere from 103 to 668 players so far, depending on the tournament.

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