2020 World Series of Poker Main Event Begins, Julian Menhardt Takes Early Lead on GGPoker

International players kick it off

The $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event kicked off on Sunday with the first of three starting flights on GGPoker. 246 players signed up for Day 1A of the “International Bracket,” with just 62 moving on to Day 2. Julian “VWgunther” Menhardt emerged as the chip leader with 534,490 chips.

Menhardt is the only player to finish with more than half a million chips, thanks to a last-minute knockout of Ami Barer. A few players have more than 400,000, with another handful in the upper reaches of the 300,000s.

Days 1B and 1C will have to wait for this coming weekend, the former on Saturday and the latter on Sunday. Day 2 will take place on Monday, December 7.

Tourney still culminates at the Rio

As we wrote about previously, this new Main Event is a hybrid online/live tournament. Day 2 will whittle the field down to nine players, who will meet in person at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic on Tuesday, December 15 for the final table.

Over the in the United States, WSOP.com will host the “U.S. Bracket” for players in New Jersey and Nevada (the only two states in which WSOP.com operates for real money). Day 1 is on Sunday, December 13 and Day 2 is on Monday, December 14. On December 28, the live, nine-handed final table will play out at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the home of the traditional, non-pandemic era World Series of Poker.

The winner of the International and U.S. final tables will square off in a heads-up battle at the Rio on Wednesday, December 28 to determine the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion. In addition to whatever money they won in their respective tournament brackets, the winner will receive an additional $1 million.

All players who make the live portion of the Main Event are required to take a COVID-19 test. Anyone who tests positive, or anyone who does not want to travel for the final table, will receive the minimum prize remaining. So, for example, if one person tests positive and cannot play, that player will receive ninth place money for their respective tournament.

There is also a chance that because the legal gambling age is higher (21) in Las Vegas than it is in Europe (18), the international final table victor would not be able to legally gamble at the Rio. That’s a problem. In that case, the WSOP reserves the right to (read: it will) move the heads-up match to another country. One might guess Canada would be the location, which means Caesars Windsor would be a possibility, as it is the only Caesars property in the country.

2020 World Series of Poker Main Event – International Bracket Day 1A Chip Leaders

  1. Julian “VWgunther” Menhardt – 534,490
  2. Paul “AsiaStylez” Esau – 472,075
  3. Dirk Gerritse – 457,197
  4. Preben Stokkan – 446,677
  5. sunnyzyang1982 – 441,981
  6. Ilya Anatsky – 407,356
  7. Michal “ml22322” Lubas – 397,579
  8. Sosia “Aunty_Ninja” Jiang – 390,312
  9. Laurynas Levinskas – 389,628
  10. WhatIfPIOswrong – 386,050

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