Two sites, two live final tables
The new hybrid online/live $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event kicks off today as thousands of poker players from around the world chase the most coveted prize in poker. Day 1A officially begins at 1pm ET/6pm GMT on GGPoker.
Unlike in the traditional Main Event, where all of the starting flights are played on consecutive days, players who don’t compete today will have to wait until next weekend to join the tournament. Day 1B is on Saturday, December 5, and Day 1C is on Sunday, December 6. The survivors from the three flights will meet on Day 2 on Monday, December 7.
compete at a live final table
When there are just nine players remaining, the tournament will pause so the players can travel to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic to compete at a live final table.
Because GGPoker does not accept US customers, there is a separate branch of the WSOP Main Event in the States on WSOP.com. There is just one Day 1, on Sunday, December 13, with Day 2 held the next day. The live nine-handed final table will be at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on December 28.
Heads-up for all the marbles
But that leaves two winners: one from King’s Casino and one from the Rio. To resolve this situation and come up with a Main Event champion, those two final table victors will meet at the Rio for a heads-up showdown. The winner of this final battle will be declared the WSOP Main Event champion and win an additional $1m, in addition to the regular prize money from their lead-up tournament.
The minimum age to gamble in Las Vegas is 21, but in the Czech Republic, it is 18. As such, it is possible that the winner of the “International Tournament” could be prohibited from playing at the Rio. If this happens, the World Series of Poker will likely move the heads-up match to a location outside of the United States.
Even though two sites are hosting the Main Event at different times, the tournament is still a freezeout, so players are not allowed to play on both GGPoker and WSOP.com.
WSOP Online already held this summer
There has already been a World Series of Poker Online this year, also split between the two sites. The WSOP.com portion – for players in New Jersey and Nevada – had 31 events, one each day of July. The second portion was on GGPoker for international players. It began later in July, ran through early September, and consisted of 54 events.
awarded the largest online poker prize ever
Though it appears that this new Main Event is considered the “official” Main Event by WSOP brass, there was a $5,000 Main Event on GGPoker this summer. It had 23 starting flights and permitted up to three re-entries. The 5,802 total entries it garnered built a prize pool of $27,559,500, which was recognized by Guinness World Records as the “Largest Prize Pool for an Online Poker Tournament.”
The 2020 WSOP Online Main Event also awarded the largest online poker prize ever: $3,904,685, won by Stoyan Madanzhiev. In addition, the $50 buy-in “Big 50” event had the most entries – 44,576 – of any tournament in World Series of Poker history.