The first official World Series of Poker gold bracelet event of 2020 gets underway today, but the parking lots at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas are sitting empty. The live WSOP poker festival was officially postponed on April 20 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, with no date yet determined for a possible rescheduling in the fall or winter.
“We are committed to running the WSOP this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart when the postponement was first announced. “In the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer… which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes.”
That promise was fulfilled in early June with the announcement of the World Series of Poker Online, which included 85 gold-bracelet events scheduled across two separate online poker sites between July 1 and September 6.
The series kicks off on WSOP.com, with tournaments available to players over the age of 21 that are located within the borders of Nevada or New Jersey. A gold bracelet will be awarded each and every day throughout the month of July, with buy-ins ranging from $400 up to $3,200. All 31 events will play to a winner in a single day and feature either no-limit hold’em or pot-limit Omaha, as some of the non-flop games commonly spread at the live WSOP series are not currently offered on the online site.
The very first tournament of the series is the $500 buy-in no-limit hold’em ‘kick-off’ event which gets underway at 3:00 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 1. The double re-entry event will see players start with 15,000 in chips and features 15-minute blind levels. Late registration and re-entry will be available for the first 3 hours and 45 minutes.
The remaining 54 bracelet events on the schedule will take place on GGPoker, an international-facing online site. The second leg of the series runs from July 19 through September 6, with the marquee tournament on the offer being the $25,000,000 guaranteed $5,000 buy-in WSOP Online no-limit hold’em main event. This tournament is set to become the largest poker event ever held online, in terms of the prize pool. With its massive guarantee, it would surpass the current record-holding event, the 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online, which paid out $21,780,000.
Some of the other notable events announced included a $100 buy-in no-limit hold’em kickoff event called ‘The Opener’ that features a $2,000,000 guarantee, a $1,111 buy-in charity event title ‘Every 1 for Covid Relief’ that will award $111 from each entry to the Caesars Cares fund, the $400 buy-in ‘Colossus’ event with a $3,000,000 guarantee, and the $1,500 buy-in ‘Millionaire Maker’, which has a guaranteed $1,000,000 first-place prize. Another staple of the live WSOP that made the schedule was the $10,000 buy-in heads-up no-limit hold’em championship.
The largest guarantees outside of the main event belong to the $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em Poker Players Championship ($10 million guaranteed), the $500 buy-in mini main event ($5,000,000 guaranteed) and the aforementioned ‘Millionaire Maker’ ($5,000,000 guaranteed).
Prior to this year there have only been 18 online WSOP bracelet events held in history, with the first debuting in 2015. This year was supposed to feature 14 online events from a slate of 101 bracelets offered at the series before the live WSOP was postponed. That would have been the most ever in a single year. Now there will be more than six times as many online events than were originally scheduled. The unprecedented increase sparked a debate on social media about how this change might impact the perceived prestige of the WSOP bracelet.
All-time bracelet leader Phil Hellmuth took to Twitter on the day of the first 2020 WSOP Online event to share that he is on his way to Las Vegas to participate. The 15-time bracelet winner posted the following:
On way to Vegas to play
WSOP</a> online tourneys: first tourney is today at WSOP’s Online Poker Site. Staying at the newly refurbished, always magnificent, <a href="https://twitter.com/AriaLV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">AriaLV! Socially distanced bracelet hunting! #WSOP2020 #POSITIVITY pic.twitter.com/K3bY0yhlQ9
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) July 1, 2020
The next two months will be filled with online WSOP tournament action. Check out the complete schedule of the bracelet events on the 2020 WSOP Online tournament page and make sure to stay tuned to Card Player to keep track of all of the latest WSOP news.