Thought that the World Series of Poker was over? Not so fast! In early November World Series of Poker unveiled a new event and it’s a big one — the official 2020 WSOP Main Event. It is being held in late November and December through WSOP.com and GG Poker, with independent events running on each site. Once down to a final table, each tournament will move to the Rio in Las Vegas or King’s Casino in the Czech Republic.
The WSOP Main Event culminates in an epic heads-up match between the two winners on December 30th in Las Vegas (live!) to play for the title and the 2020 WSOP Main Event bracelet. Like many live tournament events this year, the World Series of Poker had been moved online due to the global pandemic, that was until the WSOP provided this new solution for this final event of 2020.
What’s happened so far?
Updated: December 17th, 2020
Online poker site GG Poker played host to the first portion of the 2020 WSOP Main Event. Action for Day 1a kicked off on November 29th at 1 PM ET, marking first of three flights of the non-U.S. portion of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event.
The U.S. portion then started play December 13th and played down to a final table over 2 days.
Dates and results for each of WSOP Main Event tournaments thus far:
|Event||Location||Date||Notes||Players Entered/Remaining After Day||Chip leader from day|
|Day 1a of International Tournament||GG Poker||November 29th||Open to all players outside of the United States on GG Poker||246/62||Julian Menhardt|
|Day 1b of International Tournament||GG poker||December 5th||171/42||Blaz Zerjav|
|Day 1c of International Tournament||GG Poker||December 6th||257/75||Senthuran Vijayaratnam|
|Day 2 of International Tournament||GG Poker||December 7th||Day will play down to the final 9||674/9||Brunno Botteon|
|Day 3 of International Tournament (Final Table)||King's Casino, Czech Republic||December 15th||Winner crowned, will move on to Las Vegas||9/1||Damian Salas|
|Day 1 of USA Tournament||WSOP.com||December 13th, 2020||Players must be physically in New Jersey or Nevada to play||705/71||Upeshka De Silva|
|Day 2 of USA Tournament||WSOP.com||December 14th, 2020||Day will play down to the final 9||71/9||Joseph Hebert|
|Day 3 of USA Tournament (Final Table)||WSOP.com||December 28th, 2020||Winner crowned, will move on to Las Vegas||9/1||Joseph Hebert|
|Heads-Up Championship||Rio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas||January 3rd, 20201||The winner of International and USA tournament will be WSOP Main Event champion||Damian Salas vs Joseph Hebert||Damian Salas|
Final table set for U.S. portion of Main Event
With 71 players making Day 2 of the U.S. portion of the WSOP Main Event, a final table was in sight. 3-time WSOP bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva was in the driver’s seat with the chip lead as the remaining players had their eyes on going further up in the paytable and hopefully make the final table, set for December 28th.
De Silva lost his chip lead but did ultimately hold on to make the final table, where he is 8th in chips. But the day belonged to Joseph Hebert, who will go into the day with 13 million in chips, a commanding lead over Shawn Stroke’s 5.2 million in chips.
Day 1 on WSOP.com
The U.S. portion of the 2020 WSOP Main Event kicked off on December 13th with 705 players joining the tournament with a dream of winning the coveted Main Event bracelet.
After a day of play, the tournament whittled down to just 71 players. A familiar name was on top of the leaderboard after Day 1, 3-time WSOP bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva. Other notable players such as Jason Somerville, Darren Elias, Nick Schulman, Ryan Laplante, Maria Ho and Ryan Riess made the money and hoped to go deep the next day.
The players would be battling towards a $1,553,256 first place prize.
Damian Salas wins International portion of WSOP Main Event
After the U.S. portion of the WSOP Main Event played down to a final table, it was time to determine the winner of the International tournament.
Brunno Botteon went into the day as the chip leader. Another player, Peiyuan Sun could not travel, so he was automatically given the 9th place prize for $75,360. The remaining eight duked it out for the $1.5 million first place and a guaranteed $109k.
Botteon and Salas went heads-up but it was Damian Salas who prevailed, after having a 2:1 chip advantage going into heads-up play. He will now meet the winner of the U.S. final table on December 30th.
Final table set
The winner of the final table will receive $1,550,969 and will then face off at the end of the month against the U.S. champion in Las Vegas for the coveted WSOP Main Event bracelet as well as a $1 million added prize.
The final table was scheduled for December 15th live from the King’s Casino in the Czech Republic. The top 10 players making the final table are guaranteed at least $75,360 with two millionaires crowned.
This is how the chip counts stack up heading into the final table:
|7th||Ramon Miquel Munoz||3,035,940|
Over the three flights, the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event drew 674 players with just 179 players surviving to the second day of the tournament. A total of $6.7 million was confirmed for the prize pool with first place set to receive $1,550,969 and players making the final table guaranteed over $75k.
Brunno Botteon from Brazil finished the day as the chip leader, nearly double that of Portugal’s Manuel Ruivo. Botteon made a bit of a name of himself this summer when he made three WSOP Online final tables a second-place finish in the $25,000 buy-in Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em event, which Fedor Holz won.
Here were the top players from each of those flights that moved on to Day 2…
The first flight of the GG Poker portion of the event attracted 246 players with 62 players moving on to Day 2. Julian Menhardt went into Day 2 with the most chips from the 1a flight. The top ten chip leaders of Day 1a are as follows:
- Julian “VWgunther” Menhardt – 534,490
- Paul “AsiaStylez” Esau – 472,075
- Dirk Gerritse – 457,197
- Preben Stokkan – 446,677
- sunnyzyang1982 – 441,981
- Ilya Anatsky – 407,356
- Michal “ml22322” Lubas – 397,579
- Sosia “Aunty_Ninja” Jiang – 390,312
- Laurynas Levinskas – 389,628
- WhatIfPIOswrong – 386,050
The next flight for the non-US portion on GG Poker 1b was slated for December 5th at 18:00 GMT while Day 1c will be held on December 6th at the same time. The players from each of the three flights that survive the first day will then reconvene for Day 2 on December 7th.
Day 1b was held on December 5th with a smaller field joining the GG Poker tables. A total of 171 players entered the tournament with 42 players surviving the day and moving on to Day 2 on December 7th.
Those players were:
- Blaz Verjav – 639,394
- Rodrigo “sauvage” Valente – 592,043
- Amir “8ty4calling8” Dvir – 538,003
- Artem “Ar0wana: Vezhenkov – 511,114
- crackers614 – 488,965
- pleashurtme – 427,584
- Javier Gomez – 427,190
- “Qibing “degenkaiu Wang – 392,108
- Diego “TeaLover” Falcone – 341,782
- David “Edeskie” Cowling – 337,990
On the third and final flight of the International portion of the World Series of Poker Main Event attracted the most entries of the three events – 275. Of that number, 75 moved on to the second day, which was held on Monday:
- Senthuran Vijayaratnam – 966,714
- Jesse Wigan – 642,276
- Viacheslav Buldygin – 480,671
- Ruben Gravlien – 459,031
- Gediminas Uselis – 433,859
- Daniel Smiljkovic – 405,085
- Fazel Dawood – 404,092
- Robin Hegele – 398,192
- Christopher Puetz – 394,051
- Oleg Ustinovich – 377,123
Check out the bottom of this post for more information on how the 2020 World Series of Poker will unfold.
How can I watch the 2020 WSOP Main Event?
Both the final table of the international and U.S. tournaments will be filmed for viewing once down to a final table. Per tradition, ESPN will air coverage of the 2020 WSOP Main Event with Norman Chad and Lon McEachern at the mic.
Jeff Platt is expected to provide commentary during Day 1b through the GG Poker YouTube channel, where he will follow the action and try to keep up with some of the bigger pros as they try to make it through to Day 2.
WSOP needed a definitive champion for 2020
The announcement was surprising to some who assumed that the Main Event had been already held this year. A winner, Stoyan Madanzhiev, was crowned in September on GG Poker. At the time he was often referred by some as the “WSOP Main Event Champion.” On the current WSOP Wikipedia page, Madanzhiev is noted to as the WSOP Online Main Event Champion, but it’s a name that few poker fans can likely name off the top of their head.
This isn’t disrespecting Madanzhiev, but is likely the nature of holding a prestigious event online versus the glamour of watching it live on ESPN and the winner holding up the bracelet during the iconic post-tournament ceremony.
With the newly announced WSOP Main Event, all players will have the opportunity of claiming the bracelet and becoming this year’s official champ. And we’ll be able to watch it all unfold live.
Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, had the following to say of the news:
There must be a World Champion in 2020. 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.
How will the 2020 WSOP Main Event work?
The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event will be like none other in the 51-year history of the event. For one, the event will primarily be held online. Once play is down to a final table, the players will reconvene shortly after to play in person in front of cameras. What will make this year’s truly unique is that it will be split into two sections, a domestic WSOP on WSOP.com and an international tournament on GG Poker.
Each of those tournaments will play online as normal before moving on to a live final table in their respective locations. After a winner of each tournament has been crowned, a final heads-up battle will be held on December 30th for an additional $1 million in added prizes. The winner of the heads-up match will be crowned the 2020 World Series of Poker champion and will receive the coveted Main Event bracelet.
Questions and answers
It’s on! There will be a WSOP main event champion in 2020. https://t.co/FtprmeYsEe
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 13, 2020
What format will the 2020 WSOP use?
The tournament will operate under a traditional freezeout format, which will allow players a single entry.
What will the buy-in be for the 2020 WSOP Main Event?
Like the freezeout format, the WSOP Main Event will have its normal $10,000 buy-in.
What will the structure look like for the 2020 WSOP Main Event?
Players will start with 60,000 chips with blinds increasing every 30 minutes. Late registration will be held for the first 6 hours. Blinds will start at 100/200 with a 50 chip ante.
Where can you play the 2020 WSOP Main Event?
To play in the United States, you must be physically located in Delaware, Nevada or New Jersey while playing. If you are outside of these states, you can still play, but you will need to visit the state during the Main Event. International players have a bit more flexibility. They can play the international portion of the WSOP Main Event on GG Poker as long as the poker room accepts players of your country.
Of course, should you make the final table of each tournament, you will need to travel to either the Czech Republic (international players) or Las Vegas, Nevada (players in the United States). Should you be lucky enough to win either tournament, you will then need to play in Las Vegas on December 30th.
What happens if travel restrictions are put in place?
In the event of COVID-19 causing further travel restrictions, the WSOP reserves the right to hold the final portion of the Main Event online as well.
Will WSOP Main Event satellites be available?
Yes, players can enter WSOP Main Event satellites on both GG Poker and WSOP.com for as little as $1. Freerolls will also be available for players on both sites.
If I am a non-US player or not located in New Jersey or Nevada, can I still play in the U.S. portion of the Main Event?
Yes, you can travel to play in the U.S. portion of the WSOP Main Event by traveling to Nevada or New Jersey and playing on WSOP.com. Players will be given special Main Event room rates at select resorts in New Jersey and Nevada. Players are encouraged to visit the WSOP Main Event page for additional details. If you want to get a jump on things, you can even create your account and deposit funds on the poker room before arriving.
Can I play on both the GG Poker and WSOP.com portions of the events?
No, you can only have a total of one entry into the WSOP 2020 Main Event. You must choose to enter on only one site. Player information will be shared between the two poker rooms to prevent players from abusing these terms.
What happens if a player has COVID before during the final table portions of the Main Event?
If you make the final table, make sure you don’t get sick! A player who tests positive for the COVID-19 prior to the start of the live portion of the Main Event will be disqualified and receive the minimum payout.
What happens if an 18 year old international player wins the international tourrnament?
Because the minimum gambling age in Las Vegas is 21, in this scenario, the heads-up portion of the event will be moved to Europe.
Reaction from poker players
Players are reacting to the news with mixed feelings, with some excited at the prospect of a real 2020 WSOP Main Event champion while others are questioning the decision.
The Czech event is a huge dog from actually happening. I’m not against the idea in itself but asking people to fly in from all over the world next month to a country soaring with covid is kinda baffling. I fully expect GG side to play out online and hope winner can get to Vegas.
— Yori Epskamp (@YoriEpskamp) November 13, 2020
The new WSOP main event is a logistical nightmare but it’s better than nothing! If you don’t want to play, don’t play. If you want to play, I’ll see you on the felt!
— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) November 13, 2020
Excited for the opportunity to fire WSOP Main from America this time, thankfully only have to get to a different state now. Closer to Nevada but something about a Howard Johnson’s off the Jersey turnpike in mid December that feels so pure rock bottom it’s gotta be lucky, right?
— Salty (@msalsberg) November 13, 2020