Believe it or not, the World Series of Poker will crown a world champion at the end of the year, and some of it will even take place over the computer. While the title might sound like something out of a pro wrestling show, it is also the online/in-person hybrid tournament that will serve as WSOP’s main event in 2020.
“Due to travel restrictions, and out of an abundance of caution for player safety, this year’s format will be unique, where the early-round play will begin online with one entry on WSOP.com or GGPoker.com, before shifting to a live setting for final table action on two continents,” said the press release from the WSOP. “Each ‘bracket’ will pay out prize money to tournament entrants independently.
How the WSOP world championship will work.
The 10,000-dollar main event will start for international players on November 19th at GGpoker.com. The International players will then be called back to play on December 5th, and again on the 6th. As for United States players, they will be holding their event on WSOP.com Battlegrounds. Unlike International players, United States citizens will not get a multi-day start and will have to do some waiting before the tournament plays out.
After the first day of play for the international side, the field will be narrowed down to nine players that will take part in a final table event at Kings Casino in Rozvadov. The Americans will do the same, but their nine-person final table will be held at the Rio All-Suites. The two final tables will battle it out separately until a winner is determined. Those two will then move on to an in-person final round of epic portions.
“There must be a World Champion in 2020,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, “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.”
Deviation from the norm could be beneficial for WSOP in 2020.
Again, it sounds like something out of the world of pro wrestling, but maybe that’s what WSOP needs right now. A gimmick that will allow the organization to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and find a way to use it to their advantage. It worked when NASCAR was forced to fill time with I-racing for a few weeks, and a lot of fans enjoyed it. It also worked for Esports leagues, who took to twitch after their live games were suspended, and prompted a huge boost in popularity for the sport.
What about WWE, who had to start relying on more cinematic matches to make up for the fact that they weren’t in front of a live crowd? If nothing else, magic has been created when sports leagues deviated from the norm this year, which is why this WSOP event might be the start of something big. It could even be the groundwork for tournament styles to come and usher in a new era of WSOP poker.
In the end, the 10,000-dollar world champion tournament feels nothing short of something special, and that’s probably what WSOP is banking on. That, remember where you were when WSOP did a crazy brilliant tournament idea kind of feel. 2020 has been nothing short of an experiment anyway. Why not see what is possible when you throw new ideas against the wall?