Julian Menhardt Leads WSOP Main Event 2.0

The first, or second, depending on your perspective, WSOP Main Event of 2020 got underway on GGPoker last Sunday.

Julian Menhardt

Julian Menhardt topped the chip counts on Day 1A of the hybrid WSOP Main Event. (Image: Concord Card Casino)

Day 1A of the international bracket attracted 246 players on Nov. 29, each of whom contributed $10,000 to the prize pool.

When the betting stopped and the debris was cleared away, 62 players made it through to Day 2 of the WSOP’s hybrid Main Event.

Players Flock to GGPoker for Hybrid WSOP Main Event

The current prize pool for those outside the US stands at $2.36 million, but that will increase by the end of the week, as GGPoker will host two more opening flights with Day 1B on Friday, and Day 1C on Saturday.

The survivors will reconvene on Sunday and play down to a final table of nine. At that point, the tournament will transform into a live event and the finalists will travel to King’s Casino in the Czech Republic to compete for the “international” Main Event title. In addition to a cash prize, the winner will receive a free trip to Las Vegas for the live finale at The Rio on Dec. 30.

In Las Vegas, the international winner will take on the winner of the US bracket. That side of the tournament will take place on WSOP.com for those located in Nevada and New Jersey. Day 1 of the US bracket gets underway on Dec. 13.

Julian Menhardt is the man in charge after Day 1A of the international bracket. He was the only player to take his stack above the half-million mark. Also making it through, and still in with a shot at playing in Las Vegas, are Anatoly Filatov, Espen Jorstad, and Sosia Jiang.

Play Underway, End is Uncertain

The action is set to continue unabated for the next two weeks on GGPoker. However, it’s hard to have the same level of certainty when it comes to the live portion of the tournament.

King’s Casino is due to reopen on Thursday, which means it should be able to host the Dec. 15 international finale. However, this is far from a safe bet.

The Czech casino was meant to reopen on Oct. 25, but COVID-19 restrictions kept the doors closed. The casino then announced it would reopen on Nov. 3, Nov. 20 and, most recently, Nov. 30. Dec. 3 is the latest date being shown on King’s website.

The WSOP may have similar problems in Las Vegas. The heads-up showdown is tentatively penciled in for Dec. 30, but new restrictions in Sin City mean casinos can only operate at 25% capacity.

The current restrictions shouldn’t impact the WSOP Main Event, but, even if the rules don’t stop the finale from happening, the international winner may have issues traveling to the US.

For now, those are hypotheticals. The hybrid WSOP Main Event is underway and, so far, the going is good.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

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