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History is made every year at the World Series of Poker. It’s part of what makes the WSOP one of the most enduring and alluring brands in the poker industry to this day. This year, a different type of history has already been made. For the first time since its inception in 1970, the WSOP live events have been postponed. This has forced the WSOP to move in a different, and in some ways, uncharted direction. The WSOP summer series is going to take place entirely online with players battling for gold bracelets by clicking buttons as opposed to shuffling chips. Additionally, the WSOP has selected a partner in GGPoker, to give players outside of the United States their first shots at an online bracelet. Holding their entire gold bracelet series online is a first for the WSOP as is taking on an outside online partner to offer bracelets. But, of course, it’s by no means the first time a bracelet will be won online. The WSOP has five years under their belts of expanding their online poker footprint with a total of 18 bracelets events having already been played out. So, before we push ahead to look at a whole new crop of online bracelet winners, we are taking a look back at how the WSOP Online bracelet events have evolved. 2015 Nearly two years after the launch of WSOP.com in the state of Nevada, officials at the summer series announced the first-ever official online bracelet event. The $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship was the lone online event on the 68-event 2015 schedule. The prize pool reached $859,750 as 905 entries turned the event into the largest regulated online poker tournament in the U.S. at the time. With all of the players needing to be in Nevada, the final six took their chip stacks offline and batted for the bracelet inside the Rio. The final table included David Tuthill, Craig Varnell, and Anthony ‘casedismissed’ Spinella who went on to win the first online gold bracelet and $197,743. [table id=60 /] 2016 In 2016, the WSOP ran it back. They offered the same $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship with the same format, bringing the final six players back to a live setting to play it out. The field saw a dramatic increase in year-over-year participants as 1,247 runners, a 38% increase, pushed the prize pool to $1,184,650. Colorado native turned Las Vegas local Clayton ‘SLARKDUCK’ Maguire took down a career-high score of $210,279 from a final table where he was the only local participant. [table id=61 /] 2017 The first expansion of the online schedule took place in 2017. In addition to the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship, players were offered a lower buy-in event and the first-ever WSOP.com ONLINE High Roller. It was also the first year that the online events would play out online as opposed to a final table in the Amazon room. Nipun ‘Javatinii’ Java took down the $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship for his second bracelet of the series and a $237,668 payday. The Championship event again grew in size, however with a more modest increase. The 1,312 runners and a prize pool of $1,246,400 represented a roughly 5% field increase. It was former WSOP Main Event final tablist Thomas ‘FLOATZ’ Cannuli that booked the biggest online win of the year. Cannuli topped the 424 players of the first-ever $3,333 WSOP.com ONLINE High Roller for a $322,815 score, the largest haul of any online to that date and a win that continues to be the third-largest online bracelet payday to date. The online events were also starting to generate a good deal of rake. In 2017, online events raked just over $225,000 as opposed to the $62,350 of the single event of the previous year. [table id=62 /] 2018 Once again, history was made in the online arena in 2018. Thanks to the multi-state online pact that was agreed to just before the start of the WSOP that allows players in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware to play against each other, players in New Jersey were able to compete in gold bracelet events without heading to Nevada. The WSOP added a fourth online offering. And with the influx of Garden State online grinders, every online bracelet event of the year turned set a record of some kind. The first online bracelet event, a $365 tournament, drew 2,972 runners, which was far-and-away the largest field ever to battle for an online gold bracelet. In the second event, Matthew ‘mendey’ Mendez then became the first player to ever win a bracelet from outside of Nevada by winning the $565 Online bracelet event for over $135,000. The $1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE Championship again hit a new high for entries when Ryan ‘Toosick’ Tosoc defeated a field of 1,635 entries for over $238,000, a nearly 25% increase in runners from the year before. Finally, Chance ‘BingShui’ Kornuth set a new record for the largest online bracelet event payday by winning the $3,200 High Roller for $341,598. [table id=63 /] 2019 In 2019, there was a worry about the growth of online events as the U.S. Department of Justice issued a new opinion of the Wire Act . The opinion put in jeopardy the ability for players in New Jersey to take part in the upcoming World Series of Poker. However, a New Hampshire judge vacated the newly issued DOJ opinion and cleared New Jersey players to fortify what became a nine-event online bracelet schedule. Some of the biggest names in both the live and online arenas captured bracelets in 2019 including the first for New Jersey-based top-ranked U.S. online pros Yong ‘LuckySpewy1’ Kwon and Daniel ‘centrfieldr’ Lupo. Shawn ‘bucky21’ Buchanan, Taylor 'Galactar' Paur, and Upeshka ‘gomezhamburg' De Silva also booked victories. Well-known pro Brandon ‘DrOctogon’ Adams won the $3,200 High Roller bracelet event for the largest online bracelet score to date of $411,560. In total, the nine online events on the 2019 schedule generated just over $755,000 in rake. [table id=64 /] 2020 The previously scheduled 2020 World Series of Poker was set to have another increase in events, upping the total to 14. Now, the adjustment to an extensive online schedule in the face of the coronavirus pandemic gives players a wealth of opportunities to win some online hardware. With 85 total bracelets up for grabs, every current online bracelet event record should expect to be shattered. More than half of the bracelets will be contested on WSOP’s online partner GGPoker which means that players from all over the world, who never had the opportunity to compete for a bracelet, will all of a sudden be able to grind for one. From prize pools to paydays, the numbers in this year's event should soar as players make plans to be online to add their name to the WSOP history books.
New Jersey's Raymond 'avant9201' Avant eliminated five players in 25 minutes early Friday morning to secure his maiden WSOP gold bracelet for $94K and an additional $1,700 in bounties. The relatively unknown Avant triumphed over 1,451 other players to win #Event 23 ($500 NLHE Knockout Freezeout). Despite coming onto the final table with a significant chip stack, WSOP bracelet and Circuit ring winner Dan 'PepperPrince' Zack was the first to be felted and eliminated in 9th place. Zack, who has over $1million in career live earnings, shipped his 463,996 stack pre-flop and was first called by Avant from the small blind. Upeshka 'gomezhamburg' De Silva, who has three WSOP bracelets himself, re-shoved for 2,385,062 which caused Avant to make the fold. Zack's [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Jc"] was behind De Silva's [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"] and a clean run out of [poker card="Td"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2d"][poker card="4s"] sent Zack packing. In a button versus Big Blind battle 15 minutes later, Scott 'intheblack14' Epstein raised all in for 13,648,668 with [poker card="Th"][poker card="Ts"] after the action folded around to him on the button. 'Mikeob1' called off his 2,382,502 stack with [poker card="As"][poker card="Kd"]. The flop came [poker card="6s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2d"] and the [poker card="9s"] on the turn gave 'Mikeob1' the nut flush draw but [poker card="9d"] paired the board on the river, busting 'Mikeob1' in 8th place. Shortly after the break, the third final table fatality of the day started off with 'dogmai' in middle position with [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] raising all in for 3,615,011. Avant isolated from the cutoff with [poker card="Ts"][poker card="Td"] and was a 4:1 favorite heading to the flop. 'dogmai' caught one of his two immediate outs on the [poker card="Ah"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"] flop, the at risk player made a full house with a [poker card="3d"] on turn but a disastrous [poker card="Tc"] on river gave Avant the bigger boat and sunk 'dogmai's' battleship. Seven minutes later Avant got his second final table elimination of the day. Short stack 'kings702' picked up [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"] in the cutoff and moved all-in for his tournament life. Avant now flush with a chip stack of around 10 million called the shove with [poker card="Ks"][poker card="6d"]. Despite 'kings702' pair of nines looking in good shape, the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qh"][poker card="7d"] flop meant he needed a miracle to evade elimination. Unfortunately, lady luck did not make an appearance as the [poker card="5s"] turn and the [poker card="2d"] river ended any hopes of etching his name in the WSOP history books. Just five hands later Jun 'YESUM1987' Kim jammed his stack from the button for 1,038,184 and Avant looking to bust a third consecutive player called from the big blind. Kim was ahead with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="Qs"] as Avant turned over [poker card="Jd"][poker card="7d"] and remained the favourite on the [poker card="9d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3s"]. The [poker card="Ad"] turn brought in a flush draw for Avant but it was the [poker card="Jh"] on the river which sent Kim to the rail for fifth. The action did not let up, just two minutes later short stack Upeshka 'gomezhamburg' De Silva raised all in for 647,864 from the small blind with [poker card="As"][poker card="Kc"] and was called by chip leader Scott 'intheblack14' Epstein with [poker card="9d"][poker card="2s"]. De Silva liked the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"] flop but the [poker card="2d"] turn moved Epstein ahead, De Silva, a three-time bracelet winner, did not improve on the [poker card="5c"] river and finished in fourth place for just shy of $30K. Remarkably there was another quick elimination coming just another two minutes later. Avant continued his final table demolition when Ryan 'Im.sorry' Torgersen open-jammed from the small blind for 3,674,257 and Avant snap-called from the big blind. Avant: [poker card="Ah"][poker card="As"] Torgersen: [poker card="Qd"][poker card="3d"] Torgersen made a pair on the flop but Avant continued to run good also making his set as the flop came [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Th"][poker card="3s"]. The [poker card="8h"] turn meant Torgersen was drawing dead and the inconsequential [poker card="7h"] completed the board and ended Torgersen's chances of picking up a second 2020 WSOP online win. The final two players started heads up with even stacks of around 17.5 million chips but it was all over seven minutes later. Avant, who was the dominant chip stack coming into the final hand, moved all in with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="5h"] for 31,028,466 and Epstein called off his remaining 5,201,534 stack with [poker card="4h"][poker card="4d"]. Avant took the lead and had one hand on a gold bracelet as he paired his [poker card="5h"] on the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"] flop, Epstein then improved to seven outs on the turn with the [poker card="2s"] but could not make his straight on the [poker card="8h"] river giving Avant the victory. Final Table Payouts Raymond 'avant9201' Avant - $93,775.96 Scott 'intheblack14' Epstein - $58,074.19 Ryan 'Im.sorry' Torgersen - $41,242.60 Upeshka 'gomezhamburg' De Silva - $29,690.49 Byung Jun 'YESUM1987' Kim - $21,692.88 'kings702' - $15,995.23 'dogmai' - $12,022.56 'Mikeob81' - $9,095.32 Dan 'PepperPrince' Zack - $7,004.44 Faces in the Crowd Notable names who cashed #Event 23 but fell short of making the final table were WSOP Main Event winner Greg 'FossilMan' Raymer (191st - $574.99), Allen 'Acnyc719' Chang (84th - $940.89). Daniel Negreanu continued his fine form cashing in another WSOP event finishing in 25th place for $2,770. Chris Moorman finished in 36th place for a $2,247.69 payday. The unfortunate final table bubble boy was Anthony 'fresshh429' Conte who's 10th place finish scored him a $5,436 payday.