The international edition of the 2021 WSOP on GGPoker received a strong response from players, except for the 2021 WSOP Online Main Event, which underperformed the site’s expectations. The Main Event had a $20 million guarantee, which wasn’t met, resulting in a $563,000 overlay.
Main Event disappoints
GGPoker hosted its first WSOP online poker festival in 2020 during the pandemic, and it was a massive success. The 2020 WSOP Online Main Event had a $25 million guarantee and its 24 Day 1 flights attracted a record-breaking 5,802 registrations that generated a prize pool worth $27,559,500.
With live poker returning to venues around the globe this summer, GGPoker lowered the guaranteed prize pool for the 2021 WSOP Online Main Event to $20 million in anticipation of a dip in numbers for the online tournament. While their instincts appear to have been correct, results show that they didn’t hedge their bets quite enough.
The 2021 WSOP Online Main Event ran with a $5,000 buy-in and 24 starting flights. Players were allowed to enter the Main Event up to three times before the start of Day 2.
GGPoker witnessed a strong response to most of its events during the 2021 WSOP online festival, but it became clear early on that the numbers for the Main Event were lagging, even with the lower guarantee. At one point, the site was looking at an overlay of more than $1 million, but the operator managed to cut the shortfall by quickly introducing three more Day 1 flights.
$563,000 in the hole
While the additional three flights helped to minimize GGPoker’s losses, the poor turnout still resulted in the site facing a deficit of $563,000. Overall, the 2021 Online WSOP Main Event saw a total of 4,092 player registrations — a 29% decline when compared to last year’s numbers. The combined prize money for the Main Event reached a total of $19,437,000.
The fantastic response to the 2020 WSOP online main event also had a lot to do with the COVID-19 situation and the fact that live poker was non-existent at the time. With live poker action resuming in the second quarter of 2021, a drop in online poker numbers was expected.
Add to that the fact that GGPoker didn’t finalize its international online schedule until less than two weeks before the first event started, and there are a number of reasons as to why the Main Event may not have reached expectations.
A successful failure
While the 2021 WSOP Online Main Event was a bit of a disappointment in terms of the overlay, attracting nearly 4,100 entrants for a $5,000 tournament is still impressive. It’s also important to note that the Main Event was the only large event on GGPoker’s schedule that produced a significant overlay.
The site’s $25,000 Super High Roller, for example, had a $5 million guarantee, but ended up with a final prize pool of $6,247,500. All of GGPoker’s other large events either met their guaranteed prize pools or exceeded them.
With events like the $500Closer and the $210 WSOP Bounty Double, still to be played, GGPoker is likely to see prize pools for each of these events exceed their $2 million guarantees. So, even with some red ink on their books because of the Main Event, it’s likely that the operator isn’t too bothered by the overall results from this most recent series.