The World Poker Tour and Partypoker are teaming up once again to host another online festival.
What started out as a reaction to last year’s COVID-19 restrictions has blossomed into a fruitful relationship between the two companies. The latest collaboration will run from May 14 to June 2. That’s a week later than 2020’s WPT Online Series, but the organizers are hoping a $3 million guaranteed main event will make it worth the wait.
Slight delay helps Partypoker deliver maximum value
Partypoker’s press release provided an explanation for the delay. The main reason for pushing back this year’s WPT Online Series is to give players a break after a busy run in April.
In addition to Partypoker’s Powerfest, MTT grinders were focused on PokerStars’ SCOOP and GGPoker’s Spring Festival. Giving players some time to regroup should help generate maximum interest in the series.
Aside from MTT fatigue, Partypoker has pushed back the start date to allow a software update to take place. The upgrade will, among other things, prompt players to change their online alias before the series starts. This, in Partypoker’s words, will “reduce the effectiveness of third-party tools” and further level the playing field.
With everyone refreshed and a level playing in place, the 2021 WPT Online Series will kick off on May 14 with the $11 Micro Opener. That event signals the start of a 20-day run of tournaments costing between $5.50 and $3,200.
WPT Online series open to all
Satellites for all events are underway now and will run throughout the series. Qualifiers for the $3,200 main event will start at $0.01 and Partypoker will be offering a three-phase entry system.
In a twist on the usual proceedings, players can enter any phase, except for Phase 4. In other words, there is no direct buy-in for the final qualifier. This means players can only pay a maximum of $33 to enter a satellite.
WPT Online Series main event satellites
- Phase 1 = $0.01 buy-in
- Phase 2 = $3.30 buy-in
- Phase 3 = $33 buy-in
- Phase 4 = Only open to Phase 3 qualifiers; there will be 15 main event seats guaranteed in each Phase 4 satellite
The $3 million guaranteed main event will be the festival’s crown jewel, but players will also have their shot at glory in 25 other tournaments.
However, compared to last year’s inaugural WPT Online Series, the total guarantee is lower. 2020’s main event had a $5 million guarantee and the festival as a whole paid out $30 million+. Looking at the events announced so far, the guarantees add up to just over $5 million.
This could increase because there are currently gaps in the schedule. But, overall, it looks as though this year’s WPT Online Series won’t be as lucrative. That’s understandable given that 2020 was an unprecedented year. The WPT was forced to innovate and Partypoker stepped into the breach by hosting what would be the first of many new events.
The innovations have continued to flow since then. So, while the forthcoming series doesn’t look as if it will be as lucrative as last year, there’s more action across the board than there was in the previous festival.