The Naza24 51st edition of the World Series of Poker was scheduled to start on May 26th at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. But the health situation linked to the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States and around the world forced the American franchise to postpone its event. For several weeks, Las Vegas casinos closed their doors, an unprecedented occurrence in the “city that never sleeps”, dragging an entire state into an unprecedented economic and social crisis.
convention center wsop
Although initially the Caesars Entertainement group (owner of the WSOP) had talked about a postponement to the autumn, the deadline seemed complicated to meet. Was a world poker champion going to be crowned in 2020?
What is the World Series of Poker?
If you’re a poker fan, you must be familiar with the WSOP (World Series Of Poker). This international competition was created in the 1970s in the city of the game, Las Vegas. If at the beginning, it was a simple meeting between a handful of players playing cash-game, the event gradually grew in size and was declined in a series of tournaments including a Main Event, a main tournament crowning the World Poker Champion of the year.
las vegas sign
From the darkened halls of Binion’s little casino in Old Vegas, you’ve moved on to the huge halls of the Rio All Suite Hotel&Casino convention centre just meters from the Strip. Over the years, the prestige of the WSOP grew until the boom of 2003, when an amateur named Chris Moneymaker, a fan of small online tournaments, tame all professional players to win his first live tournament, the $10,000 WSOP Main Event.
Qualified for just $86, Moneymaker becomes world champion and wins a $2.5 million first prize, opening the field of possibilities to millions of amateur players around the world. His victory ended up popularising the event worldwide and has since grown steadily, attracting tens of thousands of players each year to the corridors of the Rio.
While no player from the hexagon has ever won the main tournament, many have shone in side tournaments offering championship bracelets, sometimes even with more than a million dollars at stake. Singer and actor Patrick Bruel, for example, won a world champion’s bracelet in a side tournament in 1998. This jewel has become the Holy Grail for every poker player, amateur or professional.
Online Series this summer
Unable to organise its 51st edition of the WSOP this summer in live, the American brand did not intend to forget the year 2020. So, quite quickly, a series of Internet tournaments was announced, intended to replace the summer event in the first instance. In addition to the millions of dollars in guaranteed prize money, real world champion bracelets would be awarded to the winners of the various tournaments, played on the WSOP.com platforms for American players and on GGPoker for the rest of the world. A total of 85 bracelets were finally awarded during the month of July and the Main Event, with a reduced entry fee of $5,000, raised 5,802 entries for a total prizepool of $27,559,500, making it the largest poker tournament ever held online.
wsop sign rio
A hybrid competition for the end of the year
But what about live? The closure of the country’s borders, which is still in place, and the second wave of contaminations have led the WSOPs to shelve their idea of a big live gathering in the autumn. Nevertheless, the American franchise did not intend to stop there for 2020. A few days ago, the management of the World Series of Poker announced its intention to crown a world champion in 2020 at any cost. The brand has therefore announced the organisation of an online and live Main Event at $10,000 by the end of the year.
main event wsop
The competition will take place in several stages:
A tournament on WSOP.com (for players from New Jersey and Nevada) on Sunday, December 13 and Monday, December 14. The 9 finalists will meet live at the Rio All Suite Hotel&Casino in Las Vegas on December 28th.
A tournament on GGPoker (for players from all over the world in unregulated countries) from Sunday 29 November to Monday 7 December. The 9 finalists will meet live at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov in the Czech Republic on Tuesday 15th December.
The winners of each tournament will compete live in a final head-to-head on Wednesday, December 30 at the Rio All Suite Hotel&Casino in Las Vegas for a $1 million bonus, the WSOP bracelet and the title of World Champion, winner of the WSOP 2020 Main Event.
A totally new competition, therefore, which nevertheless remains subject to the vagaries of the current global context. Indeed, the WSOPs have specified that the live part of the event may be required to migrate online depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic. A world champion poker player is therefore likely to be crowned from the comfort of his couch this year!