Every year, thousands of poker enthusiasts from all over the world head to Vegas to take part in the World Series of Poker, with a dream of earning a coveted gold bracelet and becoming the next World Champion of Poker.
While travel plans have mostly been disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the showdown has pivoted and moved to the virtual arena, resulting in a new world record for the richest online poker tournament in history – WSOP Online 2020.
Back then, the $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event drew a staggering 5,802-strong entry field. A massive $27,559,500 prize pool was formed, with players allowed to enter as many as three Day 1s to take a shot at victory.
Bulgaria’s Stoyan Madanzhiev claimed the top prize of $3,904,685, but WSOP remained hopeful of the opportunity to still host a live event by the end of the calendar year.
And thus the new hybrid format for the $10,000 WSOP Main Event was born. The first of its kind, it will see American players in the states of Nevada and New Jersey play on WSOP.com, while international players will play on the GGPoker Network (GGPN). Both will be separate $10,000 Freezeouts.
The domestic US-based tournament has a single starting day on December 13th, with Day 2 then playing down to a nine-handed final table the following Monday. The final table will play down to a winner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on December 28th.
For all international players, GGPN offers three starting days: November 29th, December 5th and December 6th. All survivors will combine for Day 2 on December 7th, to play down to a nine-handed final table as well.
Eight days later, all international finalists will travel to King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The final nine will whittle down to one, to determine the contender for the WSOP Main Event bracelet.
Both the winners of the domestic and international final table will then battle for the title and an additional $1 million in cash, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. This heads-up championship will be televised on ESPN.
In case travel restrictions or government-ordered mandatory casino shutdowns prevent the live final tables from taking place as planned, WSOP has maintained the right to either continue tournament play online or reschedule the final showdown to a later date.
Planned Timeline for the Hybrid WSOP 2020 Main Event
Prior to the live portions in Las Vegas and Rozvadov, all participants will undergo a screening to ensure the safety and health of everyone involved.
The WSOP Main Event Structure
All players in the domestic and international tournament will start with 60,000 in chips, which represent 300 big blinds for the first level at blinds of 100-200. All online levels last 30 minutes each and registration will be available for 355 minutes, representing 11 levels and the following breaks.
Once the final nine players have been determined, the level duration increases to 60 minutes each until the domestic and international champion have been crowned. Tournament staff will round chips to the nearest denomination of “live non-value” chips in play and the blinds continue where they wrapped up online. However, odd levels will roll back to the nearest even level.
For the Heads-Up Championship Match at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the two contenders will receive 500,000 in chips worth 500 big blinds in the first level. The duration per level will be 20 minutes each.
How Can You Qualify?
Several dozen satellites are available to ensure a seat for the $10,000 Freezeout tournament. The database of entries for the domestic and international pool will be shared among the organisers to ensure that players can only enter once.
GGPN satellites start from as low as $0.50, and the step system allows poker enthusiasts to enter the competition no matter what their bankroll is.
Besides the step system, different mega satellites award direct entries to the respective Main Event starting flights:
- $54 Mega Satellite (2 seats guaranteed)
- $200 Mega Satellite (2 seats guaranteed)
- $525 Mega Satellite (3-5 seats guaranteed)
- $1,050 Ultra Satellite (3-5 seats guaranteed)
There will also be six Ultra Satellites on November 29th and December 6th that offer a superior number of guaranteed seats. Two $525 editions will offer at least ten Main Event seats, while two $1,050 editions will award 10 and 25 Main Event seats respectively.
While the tournament is played as a Freezeout, contenders can win multiple seats on the GGPN. Unused tickets will be converted to T$ (tournament dollars) upon completion of Day 2.
Exclusive Natural8 Promotions
One Main Event ticket will be awarded in an exclusive Freeroll which is available to all Natural8 players. It will take place on November 28th at 12:00 UTC, one day prior to the first of three starting days.
Additionally, should any Natural8 player qualify for the international final table, they will have a shot at an exclusive Team Bling sponsorship worth up to $100,000:
- $30,000 will be awarded if they win the international Final Table
- $70,000 will be awarded if they win the Heads-Up Championship
- They will also become the captain of Team Bling
So far, Natural8’s Team Bling consists of eight players from six different countries who have all won a coveted WSOP gold bracelet during WSOP Online 2020 which concluded a few months ago.
Will there be a ninth member and new team captain by the end of the year? Join the action now and be part of history, for when a new WSOP Main Event champion is crowned!