Everything is topsy turvy in 2020, and the World Series of Poker’s Main Event is no exception as play finally got underway with the first group of international players dueling online.
The annual $10,000-entry poker tournament has a vastly different look and feel this year, as US and international play are operating as two separate “brackets” that each will have their own prize money. Tournament officials said due to travel restrictions and “out of an abundance of caution for player safety,” early round play will begin online with one entry on WSOP.com or GGPoker.com.
Day 1A of international play commenced Nov. 29 with 246 entries. There will be two more opportunities for non-US-based players: Day 1B Dec. 5 and Day 1C Dec. 6.
US residents will have their chance on the WSOP.com platform in either New Jersey or Nevada beginning Dec. 13. This event is expected to take two full days to reach the final nine players.
The plan is for the two brackets to eventually have their own live final table – at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, for international players, and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for US-based players.
Currently, organizers have scheduled the international final table for Dec. 15, with the US final nine to follow on Dec. 28. If shutdowns of either casino take place, or if travel restrictions prevent players from showing up, the tournament may be rescheduled.
The two bracket winners will meet Dec. 30 at the Rio for a televised head-to-head match. In addition to winnings from their respective tournaments, WSOP and GGPoker have committed $1m to the winner of the heads-up match – along with the Main Event championship bracelet and the title of 2020 World Champion.