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  1. 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.
  2. Somewhere tonight in Berlin, Greek restaurateur Makarios Avramidis (pictured) is likely celebrating the accomplishment of a lifelong goal. Don't be surprised however if there aren't too many locals celebrating with him. Avramidis beat a final table that included three Germans to win the €2,200 Six Max No Limit Hold'em event at WSOP Europe and with it the first ever World Series of Poker bracelet awarded in Germany. Avramidis beat German Frederic Schwarzer heads-up to claim the €105,000 ($119,266 US) first place prize money and that coveted bracelet. His previous best score was for just over $60,000 for an eighth place finish at the Master Classics of Poker in 2011. Schwarzer earned €64,930 for finishing second. The other German players who fell just short of becoming the envy of their countrymen were Paul Michaelis and Marvin Rettenmaier. Michaelis actually sent two players to the rail on his way to being the overwhelming chip leader at one point. First, he busted Rettenmaier in sixth and then PocketFiver Stephen stevie444 Chidwick in fourth place. Sandwiched between those two bustouts was the only American player at the final table. Californian Rick Alvarado, who started the day second in chips, was eliminated by Chidwick in fifth place. Alvarado now has seven WSOP cashes this year, including three final tables. Chidwick, who started the final table with the chip lead, was unable to maintain the momentum he had at the end of Day 2 and scored his eighth 2015 WSOP cash, earning €32,600 in the process. Following Chidwick's bustout, Michaelis found himself with 58% of the chips three-handed. It went downhill from there. The key hand came just a few minutes into Level 24 (10,000/20,000 - 3,000 ante). From the button, Avramidis raised to 50,000, Schwarzer folded the small blind before Michaelis moved all-in from the big blind. Avramidis called with his tournament life on the line and tabled Jh-Js before Michaelis showed Tc-Td. The board ran out Qs-Jd-9d-Ah-4d to double up into the chip lead. Michaelis was eliminated just five minutes later when he again found himself all-in pre-flop with a smaller pocket pair than his opponent. Schwarzer held pocket jacks to Michaelis' pocket tens. Michaelis got no help from the dealer and was out in third place. Heads-up play lasted a little over an hour with the two players swapping the chip lead back and forth a few times before Avramidis finished off Schwarzer to win his first career bracelet. There is one event underway at Spielbank Casino in Berlin, the €550 Oktoberfest No Limit Hold'em, with another eight on the schedule. A new event starts each day this week until the €10,450 Main Event next Sunday. Final Table Payouts Makarios Avramidis - €105,000 Frederic Schwarzer - €64,930 Paul Michaelis - €45,860 Stephen Chidwick - €32,600 Rick Alvarado - €23,310 Marvin Rettenmaier - €16,740
  3. [caption width="640"] Jason Mercier won his second 2016 WSOP bracelet with his father Rick cheering him on from the rail[/caption] Sunday afternoon Jason Mercier will stand in a room full of his peers for his second bracelet ceremony of the 2016 World Series of Poker. This one will be special for sure – winning two bracelets in a single year is a rare feat – but it’s likely going to be even more special for Jason given that the person handing that bracelet to him is his father, Rick. On Father’s Day, Rick Mercier will be the one giving his son something, but it’s a moment that has been over eight years in the making. Earlier in the week Jason won his first bracelet of the year, and fourth of his career, in the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven event. The next day, in that bracelet ceremony, he dedicated the win to his father, citing the incredible support he’d given him throughout his career. Jason didn’t tell Rick about the gesture, who was back home in Florida, ahead of time or actually, at all. “Actually Natasha (Barbour), his girlfriend, texted me the clip and yeah, it was really cool. I got real emotional because as a father you're always looking to make an impact on your kids and I don't think any dad really knows what kind of an impact they have,” said Rick, while he watched Jason, the youngest of his four kids, at the final table of the $10,000 HORSE event Friday night in Las Vegas. “So when your kid, your son, especially your adult children, takes a moment and says, ‘My dad has had a big impact,’ yeah it was very, very emotional for me. I got all choked up watching it.” The emotions carried over the next day when Rick and Jason, who are as close as any father-son team can be, got a chance to talk by phone. “We just talked briefly about it and I said, ‘Hey I got a copy of the video and that was really cool’ and he said, ‘I didn't say anything that wasn't true’,” said Rick. “We had a good chat about it and he's a good kid, he's a good son and he's the baby of the family. He's among the best in the world at what he does. For me, that's the thing I'm probably most proud of.” A few days later Rick, and his wife Dottie, found themselves in Las Vegas. The fact that Jason, who followed up the first bracelet win with a runner-up finish in the $10,000 Razz event, was in the middle of one of the most historic runs in WSOP history had nothing to do with it though. Weeks ago, the producers of the Poker Central show Pokerography, who are featuring Jason in the second season, offered to bring Rick and Dottie out to Las Vegas so they could spend some time in front of the cameras, telling stories about Jason. When it’s Rick’s turn to talk, he’s likely to talk about how he recognized Jason’s love of games and the strategy that goes into them at an early age. While Jason was busy playing baseball or basketball or soccer, Rick was coaching or umpiring games and got a better-than-front-row seat to see his son’s competitiveness on full display. “I taught him to play chess when he was a young kid. By the time he was 12 or 14 I stopped playing him because he was killing me,” said Rick. “I played on the chess team in junior high so I wasn't somebody that didn't really know the game at all, he just took it to a whole other level.” That combination of a competitive streak and love of strategy is what first turned Jason on to poker while in college. Jason had been playing so much poker from his dorm room that he eventually dropped out of college to play full time. That decision wasn’t received all that well at home, and it was a turning point in the father-son dynamic that could have gone either way. “It was not good. It was difficult because we had no reference at all for it. He grew up in a home where we don't gamble, it’s very strict and I was brought up very blue collar, so you find something to do, you work on that, you earn a living,” said Rick. “There was not really a whole lot about dreams and things that you wanted to do.” Jason’s parents made a tough decision. He couldn’t live at home if he wasn’t going to go to school or get a regular job – and he certainly wouldn’t be playing poker for a living under their roof. For the next few months Jason couch-surfed at various friends’ houses before father and son had a heart-to-heart. “After about ten weeks I guess, he called me and said, ‘Dad I want to come home.’ Actually I think he talked to his mom first, and he agreed at that point that he would stop playing,” said Rick. “At this point he wasn't playing live yet, this was only online and he agreed to go back to school. He agreed to go back to working a job that he had and so we agreed to, ‘Okay you can come back home’.” While telling your child that they’re no longer welcome at home sounds harsh, neither Rick nor Dottie ostracized Jason. They were just looking to make sure Jason made smart choices and was thinking about the long term. Handling the situation wasn’t easy, and Rick actually reached out to a few close friends for advice on how to handle it. “The thing about that is while that was tough and we did have to have hard relationship things, we never stopped being connected,” said Rick. “I still called him and still talked to him. His mom talked to him all the time and we just felt like we needed to be true to the rules that we had for him, but we didn't want him to ever feel like we didn't love him, he's still our son at that point, even if we didn't agree.” As he looks back at that period of Jason’s life and their relationship, Rick recognizes it probably had a profound impact on just how close the pair are now, even while Jason travels the world playing poker. “It set up a good parameter for the way we are today, because even though I'm his dad and I don't know much about this world, other than what I've learned over the least eight years, he still listens, still asks questions,” said Rick. “You can still have some influence in his life and I think that, that definitely goes back to the fact that we kept that communication going. We stayed connected.” After coming back home and going back to school and working a part-time job, Jason had another heart-to-heart with his parents. He told them he was still passionate about poker and really wanted to give it a try. Leaving the emotions out of the decision, Rick and Dottie knew they had to give Jason an opportunity to chase this dream he had of being a professional poker player – but there would be some rules this time. “At that point I kind of got it a little bit, I could see, ‘Okay he could maybe do this,’ and I just felt like I needed to let him try, and he was doing the other things that we had asked him to do so at that point we agreed he could play a certain number of hours each week,” said Rick. “I don't remember what it was, but it was not 60 hours a week like he was playing when he was in the dorm.” [caption width="640"] Rick Mercier watches Jason battle James Obst for the ,000 HORSE title[/caption] The rest of the story is part of poker lore now. Jason finished school and eventually qualified on PokerStars for some European Poker Tour events, including one in San Remo, Italy. Mercier won that event, beating out 700 other players to win $1,372,893. Since then Jason has gone on to win a grand total of $17 million and is widely recognized as one of the best poker players on the planet. That’s something that Rick takes a great deal of pride in, even if it is a little bit strange to say. “It is weird, but I'm a statistical kind of person. All the statistical analysis, when you look at his earnings, when you look at the consistency, when you go back and you look at his record in tournaments where he's been heads-up for a title, he's like 18-7 or something,” said Rick. “I've looked at the top 50 players in all-time earnings to see how many of those players have numbers like that. There aren't any.” Rick knows he sees Jason through the same tainted lens that any father sees their child through, but he’s also looking at the numbers – the things he just can’t have any influence on – and they tell him that Jason is an elite talent. “I look for numbers and he's been ranked number one in the GPI more than anybody else, any number of weeks. Those things to me tell me it's not just me saying that as his dad, the game itself says that. It is weird,” said Rick. “I think it's weirder when we're here in this environment. At home it's not, because the poker world, to an uneducated person, is a small market, small influence. So he can be home and he's just Jason. When he's here and when people are stopping him for things and yelling at him, ‘hey, it's Jason Mercier’, then yeah, that's a little weird. That just feels weird.” Even with all the money he’s won and the level of fame he’s achieved in poker, to Rick, Jason is still a down-to-earth humble young man finding his way in the world. When the poker world stops for a minute and Jason gets home to Miami, Rick sees a side of his son that nobody else in the world ever gets to see. “Jason loves his family. Whenever he's home he wants to get the family together. He's Uncle Jason to all the little babies. He loves that part of life,” said Rick. “I guess the best part of being his dad is he's a big kid and I love to see him doing well and it does excite me. I'm excited to see where he's going to end up, where his life is going to continue to take him.” Early Saturday morning Jason finished off James Obst to win the $10,000 HORSE event for his second bracelet in a week and the first person he sought on the rail was his father. “It means the world. It’s just so random that he’s even here to see me win a bracelet,” Jason said afterwards. “This is the first bracelet that he was able to see and he’s always sweating me, but this time he got to sweat me in person, which is cool.” As WSOP officials asked Jason how he wanted to handle the second bracelet ceremony, he knew that doing it Saturday wasn’t possible since his parents would be filming Pokerography at the exact same time and he really wanted them to see the ceremony. After finding out their flight left early evening on Sunday, it all came in to place to have the ceremony on Sunday – Father’s Day – and have his dad be on stage with him. “I'm glad we had kids when we were young, so I can still get around and I’m not pushing a walker around yet. So to see him compete like this and I hope to see him settle down and give us more grand-babies at some point,” said Rick. “This was fun. This was really fun.”
  4. [caption width="640"] The bracelet Tom McEvoy won for winning the 1983 WSOP Main Event can be yours for just The bracelet Tom McEvoy won for winning the 1983 WSOP Main Event can be yours for just $13,500,500[/caption] For many poker historians, Tom McEvoy holds a special place in poker history. In 1983 the then 38-year-old became the first person to win the World Series of Poker Main Event after winning their way in via a satellite. Now he’s selling off the bracelet he earned for that victory and a number of other pieces of memorabilia. In an eBay listing posted last week, poker fans can purchase a package that includes the bracelet, three of McEvoy’s books “autographed and dedicated upon request”, two Team PokerStars Pro patches, a WSOP baseball, a PokerStars baseball, and a one-hour private poker lesson from McEvoy, a Team PokerStars Pro until 2011. The three books included in the auction (according to images provided by the seller) are How to Win Poker Tournaments, The Championship Table at the World Series of Poker, and Championship Satellite Strategy. McEvoy has authored or co-authored 16 poker strategy books over the course of his career. The asking price for the package is $15,000. The seller, “ronniescollegefund”, is currently offering a 10% discount. The listing expires January 18 at Noon ET. The listing is one of eight poker-related auctions currently listed by the same seller. The other seven consist of Team PokerStars gear including a hockey jersey, patches and luggage. McEvoy’s bracelet is hardly the first to show up for sale on eBay. Brad Daugherty, Matt Keikoan, TJ Cloutier, Eskimo Clark and Dutch Boyd have all sold or attempted to sell their bracelets on eBay. The most famous might be that of 2008 WSOP Main Event winner Peter Eastgate. In 2010, Eastgate listed his bracelet for sale with the proceeds of the sale going to UNICEF and it eventually sold for $147,000. Jamie Gold’s 2007 WSOP Main Event bracelet was sold by Heritage Auctions in 2013 for just over $65,000. This past summer McEvoy recorded two cashes at the WSOP. He finished 93rd in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event for $2,311. He then wrapped up the summer by finishing 644th in the Main Event for $18,714. He has three other WSOP bracelets to his credit. His first bracelet actually pre-dates his Main Event win. He won a $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event in 1983 and three years later he won the $1,000 Razz event. His last bracelet win came in 1992 when he won the $1,500 Omaha event. In 2009 he won the WSOP Champions Invitational, a special freeroll event for all former WSOP Main Event champions held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the WSOP. McEvoy beat Robert Varkonkyi heads-up to win the 1970 Corvette Stingray first prize. He later said he sold the Corvette shortly after his win. McEvoy has lifetime earnings of $3,024,847 and he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013 alongside fellow Main Event winner Scotty Nguyen.
  5. Every time the calendar turns to July, the poker world becomes laser-focused on just one thing: the World Series of Poker Main Event. 2018 was no different by Phil Hellmuth, Justin Bonomo and Chris Moorman did everything they could to act as a distraction from poker's biggest event. It Seems Everybody Came to Play the WSOP Main Event Expectations for the field size of the 2018 WSOP Main Event ranged from 7,000 players all the way up to around 8,500. The number ended up being 7,874 - a nine per cent jump over 2017 - thanks in part to a record-setting 4,571 entrants on Day 1C. The final prize pool ended up being $74,015,600 with $8,800,000 up top. As the Main Event progressed from Day 1A to the eventual champion, PocketFives caught up with a number of players in the field. Longtime PocketFiver and sports talk radio host Ben Mintz found himself back in the Main Event for the first time in five years. “It took five years to build it back, to get to this point. Now I’m back and I’ve got the radio show with me too,” said Mintz. “Even though I haven’t played this in five years I’ve fallen right back into poker like I never left, except I actually have an income now to sustain it.” READ: WSOP: Ben Mintz is Back Mixin’ It Up in First Main Event Since ‘13 Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Chris Hunichen and Chance Kornuth have been buying pieces of players in the Main Event for years now. The pair decided to get even more serious about the side business this year and hired a lawyer to draw up contracts for all of the players they bought pieces from. Despite taking it to another level, they still ran into trouble with one player deciding to try and pull a fast one. READ: WSOP: Piece-Buying Now Serious Business for Hunichen and Kornuth Clayton Fletcher's day job isn't actually a day job - he works night. Fletcher is a New York-based stand-up comedian who has been playing poker for almost his entire life. In July, he put together a deep run in the WSOP Main Event for the second time. In 2015, Fletcher finished 96th in the Main Event. This summer he outlasted all but 27 players on his way to a $230,475 score. As the Main Event field got smaller and smaller, Fletcher talked about his passion for poker and how he was enjoying another deep run. READ: WSOP: Clayton Fletcher is More Than Just a Comedian Who Plays Poker Making the final table of the Main Event can be a real grind for even the most experienced of players. After Day 2 of the 2018 Main Event, Tony Miles felt like he needed to have somebody on his rail to help him what was coming. He had a premonition that he was on the verge of something big, so he called in Jenn Gene. Miles ended up finishing in second and Gene was there the entire way. READ: WSOP: Tony Miles Had a Feeling, So He Called in Reinforcements The Main Event final table concluded with one of the longest heads-up battles in WSOP history. In the end, John Cynn defeated Miles to win poker's most prestigous title and a whopping $8.8 million. READ: WSOP: John Cynn Beats Tony Miles to Win 2018 Main Event, $8.8M Phil Hellmuth Captures WSOP Bracelet #15 It's almost impossible to upstage the pomp and circumstance of the WSOP Main Event, but if there is one player in the 49 year history of the WSOP who could do it, it's Phil Hellmuth. While the Main Event got to a final table in one of the most talked about hands of the year, Hellmuth was in another room battling against Steven Wolansky for the title in the $5,000 No Limit Hold'em (30 minute levels) event. He eventually overcame a 2.5-1 chip defecit to add another bracelet to his collection. “I said, … ‘When’s the next time you’re going to have an opportunity like this where you’re heads up for a bracelet? You just need to hang in there and stay strong’, and I stayed strong and then luckily hit some cards,” said Hellmuth. READ: WSOP: Nicolas Manion Leads Main Event Final Table, Hellmuth Wins #15 Hellmuth wasn't the only big name to do big things after being eliminated from the Main Event. 2009 Main Event champion Joe Cada made the Main Event final table, only to bust out in fifth place. He simply marched down the hall, entered the $1,500 Closer event and beat out 3,119 other players to win the fourth bracelet of his career READ: WSOP: Cada Closes Out Epic Series, $1 Million One Drop Get Underway Two days later, Justin Bonomo continued his incredible 2018 by winning the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop for his third super high roller win of the year. Bonomo beat a final table that included Dan Smith, Byron Kaverman, Rick Salomon and eventual runner-up, Fedor Holz to add $10,000,000 to his lifetime earnings. Shaun Deeb Leaves Las Vegas in Control of WSOP Player of the Year Shaun Deeb had himself one helluva time at Poker Summer Camp. The former #1-ranked PocketFiver cashed in 16 WSOP events, winning two and winning over $2.5 million along the way. All of that success put him atop the WSOP Player of the Year standings with just WSOP Europe left to go. Deeb lead the player closest to him, Ben Yu, by 588.02 points. READ: WSOP: Shaun Deeb Locks Up Player of the Year…For a Few Months
  6. When World Series of Poker officials announced in mid-April that the 2020 WSOP was being postponed due to the uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic, they promised that players would be playing for "WSOP glory from their homes" this summer. That promise was met last week when the WSOP announced a total of 85 online bracelet events with 31 set for WSOP.com for players in Nevada and New Jersey, and another 54 for players outside of the United States to be battled for on GGPoker.com. The response from some of the poker community wasn't all that positive with a large number of complaints focused on the fact that these events will award each winner a WSOP bracelet. "My reasoning is likely separate from many others as I was indifferent to holding (a bracelet) until I learned of the significance it has with friends I love who love the game," said Brandon Shack-Harris, who won a bracelet in 2014 and another in 2016. "I realized that some people go their whole lives dreaming of realizing what I was lucky to stumble onto, and had been taking for granted." Shack-Harris took to Twitter to tell the story of how Chad Brown being awarded an honorary WSOP bracelet before his passing in 2014 and subsequently learning how much the bracelet meant to Brown forced to him to better recognize and appreciate the personal significance of the award. The history behind and prestige of the bracelet is front of mind for Shack-Harris and others who fear that WSOP executives aren't keeping that in mind as they make decisions. "The WSOP does a fantastic job with some things like holding tournaments for an inordinate number of participants and incorporating all types of game formats," said Shack-Harris. "I don't think the entity itself cares much about poker overall, and there are frequently sloppy executions of various aspects of the series that have demonstrated this assumption." Shack-Harris lists the increasing number of reentry events, smaller buy-in events, and WSOP Europe and WSOP Asia-Pacific as evidence that the WSOP has sacrificed the value of a bracelet. He believes the WSOP should follow examples from major sporting championships like tennis' Wimbledon or golf's The Masters in regards to the exclusivity of the titles. "Not every player is going to agree with every business decision you make. But we are guided by the simple principle that we want the WSOP to mean as much as it can to as many people around the world as possible not the same as it once did to a few," said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the WSOP. "Our mission and our opportunity is to present the poker world to the rest of the world and paint the game in a positive light." Not all players believe the decision to turn to online poker in light of the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic is a bad direction. Mike Leah, who won a WSOP bracelet in 2014 at WSOP APAC, thinks the pandemic provided a catalyst for Series officials to expand their offering. "The thing that it really did for them is it gave them an urgency to find a partner outside of the US which I think is amazing because instead of being forced to play on WSOP.com, there's another avenue for WSOP prize pools and bracelets and that's probably the biggest positive that came out of this," said Leah. The postponement of the 2020 WSOP live series came with a caveat that organizers were targeting the fall to host some form a live event in 2020. Shack-Harris believes that adding 85 bracelet events without solidifying plans for the live series sets a dangerous precedent. "I think there will likely still be a live series later in the year, and offering up 85 online events for a bracelet with no transparency regarding the potential of a live format going or not going bothers me more than anything else," said Shack-Harris. "If people make arrangements to play online because they feel this is their only shot at a bracelet this year, and then a postponed series shows up out of the blue, I think it's somewhat deceitful, but probably great business." Despite their intentions to hold a live event in Las Vegas this year, Stewart isn't sure how that can happen as the coronavirus situation changes frequently. Current Nevada gaming regulations limit the number of players at a table to no more than six and not all poker rooms are even open. Travel restrictions in place would also significantly limit the number of players who could attend from outside of the United States. "We have no concrete pathway to the offline event. We have a partner who is absolutely all-in. We have the opportunity to organize massive prize pools, deliver buzz and energy for the industry, and perhaps most of all, engage an entirely new segment of players," Stewart argued. "I’m looking at WSOP Online as the biggest ever marketing vehicle for international players and the only failure will be if we can’t convert many of them to playing WSOP Las Vegas when we’re back in session." The online series puts the lack of online poker regulation in the United States into the spotlight once again. Only players physically located in Nevada or New Jersey will be able to play the bracelet events on WSOP.com and GGPoker does not accept players from the United States. Pennsylvania has had regulated gaming, including poker, available since last summer, but Stewart indicated the company is still in the development process of getting up and running in that state and was unable to give a timeline for their launch there. This leaves a large percentage of the United States on the outside, unable to play without traveling and Leah believes a high number of the complaints are coming from players who simply can't play. "I think if you went through the people that have negative feedback or complaints about this, probably at least 80% of them are from people who are not in New Jersey or Nevada or the rest of the world or somewhere where they can play," said Leah. "I'd be disappointed as well, but people have been disappointed about unregulated poker in the US for a long time so this is just something that brings it to the forefront again." The complete GGPoker event schedule has not been posted, but it is expected to include only Hold'em and Omaha event. The 31-event schedule from WSOP.com also includes only those two games. The lack of mixed games - traditionally a staple of the WSOP schedule - has also upset many players that feel the online product isn't a proper reflection of the history of the Series. "I'm disappointed too and you best believe you may see even more mixed games at the next live WSOP," said Stewart. "But while much of the summer schedule will feel familiar to the spirit of WSOP at the Rio, this is WSOP Online, and online is dominated by flop games. If we gave GGPoker a little more time to develop, who knows. But we are not going to ask them to rush a new unproven derivative to the market in time for the summer." Some in the industry have made the suggestion that the bracelets awarded this summer shouldn't be held in the same regard as events won in a live tournament. The argument is similar to the one that people made when Caesars expanded the tournament offering to Europe with bracelet events in 2007 and Asia-Pacific in 2013. Rob Yong, owner of the Dusk Till Dawn cardroom in England and partypoker partner, floated the idea of awarding silver bracelets for events not held in Las Vegas. "I understand the argument, the sentiment of it, but I also know that a lot fewer people would play," said Leah. "With bracelets, they'll be even bigger but if you take them away you're going to lose some of the interest and obviously the prize pools will be smaller and make people not want to play as much. I think a lot fewer people will play. If it's a bracelet event I know I'm going to do my best to play every single event." Leah, who lives in Canada, has already begun the search for full-time childcare for his one-year-old son to ensure he can play as many of the 54 events as possible. Stewart thinks any attempt to diminish any bracelet win is going to be difficult given the expected turnout for the online events and feels comparison of various events and eras isn't worth the headache. "The relative value of bracelets is not up to me to determine; large fields vs high rollers, Europe fields vs 1990’s Binion’s," Stewart said while indicating the bracelet design for these 85 events is a differentiating factor. "But I have my strong point of view on this series. Based upon the numbers we project for most of the events, these will statistically be some of the hardest bracelets to win, ever. And the prize pools will be such that it will be very difficult to try and diminish the accomplishment." The original 2020 WSOP schedule had a total of 101 events, with 14 of them being played exclusively on WSOP.com. A sevenfold increase in the number of online events is a gigantic leap with huge revenue opportunities for the WSOP. Leah doesn't think the online events will ever be able to replace or replicate the summer camp, bucket list feel that the live tournament series is famous for. "I don't think anything's ever going to change the annual WSOP in Vegas every summer because that's everyone's favorite thing of the year. But adding to it, maybe an online bracelet series at some point in the year on WSOP.com and GG ends up being an annual thing and I could see that as being a pretty positive thing." Going from 85 online events this year to a smaller number next year goes against the WSOP's previous expansion online. Since launching online events in 2015, the total number of them on the schedule has gone from one (2015, 2016) to three (2017) to four (2018), to nine (2019) with 14 originally scheduled for 2020. Stewart believes the unique set of circumstances presented to them this year doesn't mean they'll end up with a similar schedule once a full schedule can be played live in Las Vegas. "I don’t foresee we’ll have this number of online events again. But there certainly is a place for online bracelets on an every year basis," Stewart said. "I am optimistic this year will be huge, and then we can evaluate. Everything we do is on a year to year basis to test the reception. The same players against the idea of a vast online series now may be demanding it in the future."
  7. After having to postpone the 2020 World Series of Poker due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, WSOP officials promised poker players they would soon have a solution so that would "allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes." On Monday, the WSOP took the first step towards fulfilling that promise. The WSOP has announced 31 events for players in the regulated American markets served by WSOP.com and 54 events on GGPoker for players located outside of the United States. Before being postponed, the 2020 WSOP was scheduled to award 101 bracelets including 14 that were going to be played on WSOP.com for players in New Jersey and Nevada. "It wouldn't be summer without WSOP," said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the WSOP. "While we are thrilled to be reopening our venues and optimistic about future offline events, we couldn't be more excited about deepening our relationship with GGPoker and watching some history unfold online this summer." This marks the first time that players located outside of the United States have been able to compete for a WSOP bracelet online. Players inside Nevada borders first played for a WSOP bracelet in 2015. In 2018, players in New Jersey played in bracelet events alongside their Nevada-based colleagues following the intra-state merger of player pools in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. "There's nothing in the world like winning a WSOP bracelet," said Daniel Negreanu, who joined GGPoker as an ambassador earlier this year. "Bringing this experience online will open the door for a new generation of poker players to feel the rush of competing for the game's biggest prize." WSOP.com is currently not available in Pennsylvania. Stewart also indicated that PokerCentral, owner of PokerGO and the official streaming partner of the WSOP, will also be involved in creating content including live streams, highlight packages as well as "virtual bracelet ceremonies" with interviews with each winner. The decision to partner with GGPoker for the WSOP bracelet events just weeks after the conclusion of the WSOP Super Circuit Online Series on the growing online poker site which awarded $6,728,197.80 over 18 ring events and nearly $128 million over 498 events scheduled around those ring events. WSOP.com Online Bracelet Events 2020 The WSOP.com online bracelet events kick-off on July 1 with one event each day through the month of July culminating with the $1,000 buy-in Championship event on Friday, July 31. There are six other events with a $1,000 buy-in as well as a $1,500 and a $3,200 High Roller event. According to a press release, WSOP.com players will also be able to win their share of $100,000 to be awarded to top performers in July's bracelet events. [table id=49 /] GGPoker Online WSOP Bracelet Events 2020 Players who are able to play on GGPoker will begin chasing bracelets on July 19. The event schedule for the WSOP bracelet events on GGPoker has not been announced but the company indicated they plan to "unveil its bracelet schedule on a rolling basis". The final event concludes on September 6. "With over $100M in guarantees during the WSOPC Super Series in May, it's clear that GGPoker and the WSOP make a good pair," said Steve Preiss, GGPoker's head of Poker Operations. "We're excited to create bracelet events that the community will embrace, as well as innovative programming with PokerGO." Buy-ins are expected to be similar to those offered by GGPoker in the WSOP Super Circuit Online where buy-ins ranged from $50 up to $25,000.

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