Unique format for 51st WSOP Main Event will award World Champion title this December 2020

This year has been a wild roller coaster ride with everyone bracing and adjusting to the impacts the current global health crisis has brought upon us. With the threat of the whole Covid-19 situation still looming at large, many did not expect the poker industry to manage a live comeback as soon as we are seeing, considering the numerous travel and health restrictions in place. However despite the influx of unfortunate news this year, poker enthusiasts are in for some excitement as the annual most prestigious event announces its awaited return this December 2020.

The World Series of Poker Main Event this year will run unlike any other before given the circumstance. A live and online hybrid version of the tournament will be up and running in a series of dates detailed below. Although the crowned World Champion will not be known until the end of the year, a bit different from its previous events, later than none at all is definitely better in the scheme of things.

Two independent segments (Domestic & International)

The 51st WSOP Main Event is set to engage in a unique new format incomparable with its past events. Considering the health and safety risks associated with having large gatherings, it has been decided that early round play will take place online across two platforms and GGPoker, with the final nine from each segment to play live in two separate continents.

Each bracket will host an independent prize pool whilst offering the exact same structure. Long level blinds of 30 minutes and a deep stack of 60,000 chips will be in play for both tournaments. Once the final table is reached, blind structure will shift to 60 minutes per level.

Similar to the annual games, this year’s Main Event will post a buy-in of US$10,000 in a traditional freezeout format. Players eager to participate in the renowned tournament will only be allotted single entry across the platforms, with player information shared between the two networks to limit multiple buy-ins. Late registration will remain open until the end of level 13, 6 hours in from its starting time.

● Dates for – Domestic segment (Players geo-located in New Jersey and Nevada)
Day 1 – Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020
Day 2 – Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, Play down to 9 players
Final Table – Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Monday, Dec. 28, Play continues to a winner; prize monies paid

● Dates for GGPoker – International segment
Day 1A – Sunday, November 29, 2020
Day 1B – Saturday, December 5, 2020
Day 1C – Sunday, December 6, 2020
Day 2, Play down to 9 players, Monday, December 7
Final Table – *King’s Casino, Tuesday, Dec.15, Play down to a winner
*Subject to local regulatory approval

Contrary to its domestic leg, the international segment of the 2020 WSOP Main Event will run three days of starting flights with players given the choice on which date they opt to play. Gameplay is then scheduled for a pause, allowing the final nine players the necessary time to travel to King’s Casino to play their final table in a live taping. Should travel restrictions or a casino shutdown prevent the live portion from moving forward in December, organizers reserve the right to continue the tournament play online or reschedule to a later date.

All in-person tournaments, domestic and international, will be subject to special COVID rules and procedures, the details of which will be published at a later date and will require players to undergo a required health screening prior to live participation. All participants must agree to abide by all applicable rules.

Heads-up championship for the World Champion title

A first in WSOP history, this year’s final table will see an ultimate heads-up championship for the coveted title. Apart from the independent payouts received from the domestic and international segment, the winners are set to compete for an added bonus of $1 million to the World Champion courtesy of Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and GGPoker, in addition to the WSOP Main Event bracelet.

hossein ensan
Last year’s WSOP Main Event champion, Hossein Ensan from Germany. Credit:

The winners of both segments are set to play the final duel at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, subject to applicable regulatory approval, for a televised showdown on December 30, 2020, Wednesday. Both players will start with 500,000 in chips and play 20-minute blind levels until a champion is named.

*Note, should the international winner be under the age of 21 and thereby ineligible to play in the state of Nevada, organizers reserve the right to change the date and location of the Heads-Up match.

All final tables for both the domestic and international segment including the heads-up finale will be covered by ESPN’s Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, as it has been for more than a decade.

“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.”

GGPoker Head of Poker Operations Steve Preiss added, “We’re very happy to continue to deepen our relationship with WSOP. It was a huge summer of record-setting action on GGPoker and we’re excited to offer players access to the biggest tournament of all.”

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Janette Dee

Graduated from De La Salle University, Janette works as a full time teacher in Manila, Philippines. She has long joined the local poker community as a recreational player for the last decade. Having a natural love for the game, she decided to branch out into a different avenue of poker. Currently, Janette works for Somuchpoker as a content writer reporting local and international news for the site.

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