The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event is still some nine months away, but WSOP.com is already working to get players qualified for the event. Over the past several weeks, players in New Jersey and Nevada have been able to play in $215 satellites which have guaranteed at least one seat for the 2020 WSOP Main Event.
The early start to qualifying players via their own online platform is in response to player demand and could be a sign of bigger things to come through the rest of the winter and spring.
“We started with Main Event satellites in October because we had enough player feedback to suggest they would appreciate and participate in this offering. We plan to continue to ramp up closer to the WSOP as well,” said Danielle Barille, WSOP.com’s Senior Manager of Product and Operations. “Satellites are a great way for players to have a chance to play in events they may otherwise not have. If the players respond favorably, we will certainly look to continue to add them more throughout the year.”
2020 Main Event Field Could Be Record Breaker
The 2019 WSOP Main Event was the second largest of all-time, falling just 204 players short of the record-setting 2006 Main Event which drew 8,773 runners. Increasing the number of players qualifying online from WSOP.com could help close the gap and make 2020 the biggest Main Event ever and may even push the total field size within striking distance of 10,000 players.
Getting American players into the WSOP Main Event hasn’t been easy for WSOP.com. In November 2018, WSOP began offering the rake-free $80 ALL-IN satellites but had trouble getting the 129 players needed for them to run. In the weeks before the 2019 WSOP Main Event, those tournaments did run and were popular with players already in Las Vegas. Those satellites will be back in the client soon and Barille is hopeful they will be successful this year.
Once the calendar turns to 2020, WSOP.com players will find even more opportunities to win their way into the Main Event. Barille admits that could include more mega-satellites patterned after the one they run every summer that sends 25 players to the Main Event.
“One of our big goals is to always increase satellites to the Main Event, and focus heavily on giving players access to satellites at low buy-ins, especially focused on the 25 Seat Scramble,” Barille said. “With the success year after year of the Scramble, we may also start focusing on more mega satellites throughout the year and summer.”
Players who manage to win a satellite get a $10,000 seat to the 2020 Main Event but unlike how some online operators have run qualifiers for their live events, there is no money included for airfare or hotel.
“We have tried these in the past, and there was not as much appetite for these, so we have continued to stick with straight $10K ME satellites,” Barille said. “We have done some smaller packages in the past where players can win seats to multiple events in one satellite, called Kick-off packages. They include entry into the events for opening weekend. We plan to continue to offer these types of satellites in the future.”
Could Pennsylvania Players Get In on the Action?
Online poker players in Pennsylvania are still sitting on the sidelines waiting for their chance to play on regulated online poker sites. Barille remained tight-lipped about WSOP.com’s plans for the Keystone State but did admit that adding Pennsylvania to their inter-state network would lead to increased traffic and send even more players to poker’s most prestigious event.
“Adding the PA market to the NV-NJ compact would allow for bigger prize pools as well as more opportunity to add more satellites to the growing liquidity. It would be great for poker players,” Barille said.