At long last, the 2020 WSOP Main Event has been finalized, but the world championship of poker is going to look significantly different this year. Despite COVID-19, players from all around the world will have an opportunity to compete.
The annual summer bracelet series in Las Vegas was canceled due to the global health pandemic. Instead, event organizers ran an online bracelet series mixed between WSOP.com and GGPoker. They even hosted a Main Event, which set an online poker record with a prize pool worth more than $27 million.
But few considered Stoyan Madanzhiev, the winner of that event on GGPoker, the true world champion. Ty Stewart, the WSOP’s executive director, said in a press release Friday that, “there must be a world champion in 2020.” So, on Nov. 29, the quest for the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion begins on the GGPoker poker site. It will end Dec. 30 at the Rio, in front of a live television audience.
Details for the 2020 WSOP Main Event
The Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, the World Series of Poker’s home since 2005, closed due to COVID-19 in March, and still hasn’t reopened. That’s caused a bit of an issue in planning the 2020 WSOP Main Event. But, as entertainers Penn and Teller said in a short video, the mega resort is finally set to reopen Dec. 22.
Thus, the world championship of poker event now has its usual destination back. On Nov. 29, GGPoker will kick off the $10,000 buy-in tournament for players outside the United States. Once they’ve played down to the final nine competitors, those individuals will travel to Rozvadov, Czech Republic and King’s Casino, site of the WSOP Europe series in recent years, for a live final table on Dec. 15.
Over at WSOP.com, in Nevada and New Jersey, American players will compete in a separate but connected 2020 WSOP Main Event. That online tournament begins Dec. 13, with the final table scheduled for Dec. 28 at the Rio. Two days later, the winner out of each field will battle it out heads-up at the Rio for the bracelet, and the distinction of being a poker world champion.
Both WSOP.com and GGPoker are set to run weekly satellites for as little as $1 leading up to the event. The poker sites have committed to chipping in an additional $1 million to the heads-up winner. ESPN will televise the finale with its regular commentators, Norman Chad and Lon McEachern.