When the COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponement of the 2020 World Series of Poker live events early this year and pushed WSOP organizers to offer 85 online bracelets in its place, many believed that was it for WSOP events for the year.
Not so fast.
On Friday, the WSOP announced a hybrid online-live Main Event to take place on WSOP.com inside the United States and on GGPoker.com in international markets.
“There must be a World Champion in 2020,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker. “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.”
The buy-in for this event (on both platforms) is the traditional $10,000 and just like every other WSOP Main Event in history, players can enter just once.
Players on WSOP.com and GGPoker will each play down to a final table of nine players before pausing to play a final table live. Players on WSOP.com will reconvene at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas while players on GGPoker will meet at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech. Each of those final tables will play down to a winner and each winner will travel to Las Vegas in late-December to play for the title.
The International Tournament, for players outside of the United States, gives players three starting flights to choose from; November 29, December 5, December 6. Players who make it through their starting flight will advance to Day 2 on GGPoker on December 7. The final nine players will then travel to King’s Casino to play down to a winner on December 15.
Players in New Jersey and Nevada, where WSOP.com is available, have just a single starting day, December 13 with the tournament pausing after approximately 12 hours of play before continuing on December 14. That final table takes place December 28 in Las Vegas.
Both tournaments will pay out players according to a regular payout structure with the final two players playing for $1 million provided by the WSOP and GGPoker. This tournament is a continuation of the partnership between the WSOP and GGPoker which was first showcased with a WSOP Super Circuit Online series in May and then the 54 WSOP Online events this summer. That series culminated with Stoyan ‘Nirvana76’ Madanzhiev winning the $5,000 buy-in Main Event for $3.9 million.
“We’re very happy to continue to deepen our relationship with WSOP,” said Steve Preiss, GGPoker Head of Poker Operations. “It was a huge summer of record-setting action on GGPoker and we’re excited to offer players access to the biggest tournament of all.”
The ESPN broadcast of the heads-up portion on December 30 will feature Lon McEachern and Norman Chad in the commentary booth.
With travel restrictions and casino availability constantly in flux due to COVID-19, the WSOP has contingencies in place which could include playing the final tables online or at another venue. Players traveling to play either final table will be subject to local COVID-19 testing policies.