At long last, the 2020 WSOP Main Event will finally reach ESPN2 this weekend. The four-letter sports network will air the final table, which took place in December and January, in a condensed version on Feb. 28.
The broadcast begins at 8 pm ET on Sunday. This year’s Main Event was quite a bit different than those played over the previous 50 years.
Most of the tournament took place online at WSOP.com for American players, and on GGPoker for non-US players. The winners of each online tournament then competed in separate final tables. GGPoker’s final nine met up at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, the site of the annual WSOP Europe Series. The American final table was hosted at the WSOP’s main site, the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Both final tables took place in December.
For those who plan to watch and are unaware of the outcome, we’ll leave that info out of this section of the article so we don’t spoil it for you (read the following sections if you aren’t concerned with spoilers or already know the outcome). After the final tables concluded, both winners met in Las Vegas for a heads-up battle where they played for an extra $1 million in prize money and to determine the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion. That took place on Jan. 4 at the Rio.
The television coverage on ESPN2 will last four hours beginning Sunday night, but the broadcast booth will look a bit different. Lon McEachern returns for the 19th straight year, but he won’t be joined by his long-time sidekick. Norman Chad is still feeling the effects of COVID-19 more than six months after he tested positive, so he decided it was in his best interests to sit this one out.
Jamie Kerstetter, a poker pro and popular tweeter, will step into Chad’s role for the 2020 WSOP Main Event on ESPN2 after having been part of the tournament coverage team in previous years.
Still debatable: Who deserves the 2020 WSOP Main Event title?
Who is the 2020 world champion of poker? If you ask Stoyan Madanzhiev, who shipped what he thought was the 2020 WSOP Main Event on GGPoker this past summer, he’s the champ. But the World Series of Poker only acknowledges Damian Salas as its champion.
Over the summer, the WSOP hosted an online bracelet series at WSOP.com in the US, and then on GGPoker internationally. Madanzhiev won $3.9 million in what many thought was the real Main Event, even though it took place online. Of course, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the live Main Event at the Rio.
In November, however, the WSOP announced it was hosting a “real” Main Event. That included, as previously mentioned, a hybrid online-live version of the tournament. Salas, who reached the live final table in 2017 (seventh place for $1,425,000) took down the GGPoker final table in December for $1,550,969. He would then face Joseph Hebert, who shipped the WSOP.com tournament for $1,553,256.
Salas would go on to defeat Hebert at the Rio on Jan. 4 for an extra $1 million. He was crowned world champion by the WSOP, although Madanzhiev certainly disagrees.
You can watch Salas take down the 2020 WSOP Main Event on Sunday on ESPN2. We’ll let you decide if you consider him the real champion.