Just prior to the start of the final table of the U.S. portion of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event on Monday, the WSOP gave the poker world a sneak peak at this year’s bracelet, which has been coveted by players since 1976.
The bracelet, which is the most sought-after non-monetary prize in poker, will be awarded at the 2020 WSOP Heads-Up Championship on January 3rd.
— WSOP (@WSOP) December 29, 2020
A bumpy ride to the 2020 WSOP Main Event bracelet
It’s been a wild ride to get to the point where we are now finally on the cusp of the WSOP claiming a definitive champion, even if some believed the WSOP already had done so.
The World Series of Poker in Las Vegas was first delayed and then canceled over the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A presumed online Main Event winner through GG Poker was then crowned in September, before the announcement of a final World Series of Poker Main Event series was held on two continents in late November and December. The introduction of a new tournament still has not sat well with some in the poker community:
— Blake Whittington (@SipnShamPain) December 29, 2020
But despite some uproar, including from Stoyan Madanzhiev himself, both portions of the WSOP Main Event were held online — the international event on GG Poker and the domestic tournament on WSOP.com.
Once play was down to a final table, the action moved to two live final tables with the International tournament held in the Czech Republic and the Domestic tournament played at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. The final tables were not without controversy as two players dropped out. In the international tournament, Peiyuan Sun from China decided not to attend the final table in the Czech Republic and on Sunday, Upeshka De Silva was disqualified from the event for testing positive for COVID-19. Both players were awarded 9th place in their respective tournaments.
Damian Salas was victorious in the Czech Republic in mid-December and Joseph Hebert won the final table at the Rio. Both players were set to go heads-up for a $1 million added prize on December 30th, but that plan was derailed after Salas was denied entry into the United States due to traveling to Europe for the final table in the Czech Republic. Fortunately, Salas appears as though he will be permitted into the U.S. later this week.
The tentative plan now is for the Heads-Up Championship to be held on January 3rd, with the Main Event bracelet and a $1 million winner-take-all prize up of grabs. That is, of course, barring any unforeseen circumstances that would again shake things up. ESPN has filmed the final table and will also be recording the Heads-Up Championship with a broadcast date yet to be determined.