2020 WSOP Online Awarded Guinness World Record for Largest Online Poker Tournament Prize Pool

  • WSOP Online Main Event drew 5,802 entries, generating a $27.6m prize pool
  • Stoyan Madanzhiev won the Main Event and $3.9m, the largest online first prize ever
  • The largest prize pool for any tournament was the $82.5m, set by the 2006 WSOP Main Event
  • The traditional World Series of Poker was forced online this year because of the pandemic
Guinness World Records logo
The $27.6m in prize money in the 2020 WSOP Online Main Event on GGPoker has been officially named the “Largest Prize Pool for an Online Poker Tournament” by Guinness World Records. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Guinness makes it official

We already knew this was the case when the World Series of Poker Online ended in early September, but last week, Guinness World Records made it official, awarding the 2020 WSOP Online Main Event the record for “Largest Prize Pool for an Online Poker Tournament.”

record-setting prize pool of $27,559,500

Hosted by GGPoker, the $5,000 Main Event attracted 5,802 entries, building the record-setting prize pool of $27,559,500, crushing the $25,000,000 guarantee. The previous record was set by partypoker’s $5,300 buy-in MILLIONS Online in 2018, which generated a $21,835,000 from 4,367 entries.

Helping boost the Main Event’s numbers were 23 starting days and a maximum of three entries. Thanks to the internet, a structure like this was easy to pull off.

GGPoker announced the achievement last Wednesday, but it was a little more fun when Michael Empric, the Official Adjudicator for Guinness, did the honors personally:

Steve Preiss, Head of Poker Operations at GGPoker, said that his poker room had the world record in its sights from the jump.

“Players and fans of poker expect nothing less than record-breaking prizes when it comes to the World Series of Poker, and GGPoker delivered,” he said.

Eye-popping numbers

The Main Event prize pool was not the only poker record that was broken by the 2020 WSOP Online, though it was the only one officially recognized by Guinness. As one might suspect, the first prize of $3,904,685, won by Stoyan Madanzhiev, was the largest online poker prize ever handed out.

The Big 50, the 71st event of the 2020 WSOP Online, set a third record. It garnered 44,576 entries, the most ever for a World Series of Poker tournament. Its $50 buy-in is also the smallest in WSOP history.

Though the Main Event set an online poker record, it still pales in comparison to the top live World Series of Poker Main Events. The record for any poker tournament, live or online, goes to the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event, won by Jamie Gold. Taking place just before the UIGEA dealt a blow to online poker in the United States, the tournament had a whopping $82,512,162 prize pool.

The top five prize pools and 15 of the top 17 are all from WSOP Main Events. The 2020 WSOP Online Main event comes in at 20th on the all-time list when combining live and online tournaments.

Record created by the pandemic

The original, live 2020 World Series of Poker had a 101-event schedule, 87 live at the Rio in Las Vegas and 14 online. Organizers held out as long as possible, but were eventually forced to cancel the traditional Series because of the COVID-19 pandemic. WSOP Circuit events were moved online and while there has been no official announcement, it appears that the WSOP Europe has likely been nixed.

The 2020 WSOP Online was divided into two portions. The first stretch was held on WSOP.com in July, one event per day. Because of the host site, it was only open to poker players located in Nevada or New Jersey. The second part, the segment largely considered to be “the” WSOP Online, was on GGPoker through early September, consisting of 54 more events.

In contrast to the WSOP.com portion of the WSOP Online, GGPoker accepts players from around the world, but does not allow players from the US.