The WPT World Online Championships has impressed at least one recent winner thanks to the size of its buy-ins, the use of real names, and its non-Hold’em events.
With the first $3,200 event in the books and Paul Tedeschi emerging victorious, Partypoker spoke to the first-ever WPT World Online Championships winner.
The Frenchman’s series highlights, so far, are the Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) MTTs. Although Event #1, a PLO8 tournament, missed its guarantee, Tedeschi believes variety is important to uphold the WPT’s reputation.
Balancing Prestige with Online Accessibility
Despite the evolution of online poker, virtual titles don’t tend to have the same allure as their offline counterparts. COVID-19 forced the leading tournament organizations to innovate and, in turn, meet the challenge of retaining the prestige their titles are known for.
In Tedeschi’s opinion, the WPT’s decision to diversify has been crucial in this.
“I really like the WPT schedule with a week dedicated to PLO8, a week dedicated to PLO, Hold’em, etc,” the WPT champion told Partypoker.
The Frenchman also believes the buy-ins have been set at a level that makes the WPT World Online Championships appealing to pros.
“The buy-ins for the main events are perfect to keep the tournament prestigious without having too big a field. I’m hoping to see other mixed games like HORSE in the next edition,” Tedeschi continued.
One of the most notable innovations introduced by the WPT and Partypoker is the use of real names rather than screen names during events. The latter has gradually removed online monikers over the last 18 months, and the WPT World Online Championships have provided another showcase for the system.
“For me, real names are clearly a positive feature because I know directly who I am dealing with. It’s also better for online press and coverage, and for readers to see the real players rather than a simple nickname,” Tedeschi said.
Getting it Right in the Majors
The use of real names isn’t something Tedeschi wants to see become the norm in online MTTs.
“After that, I think some people prefer to play anonymously for different reasons. The good compromise is to make the real names visible only for major events,” Tedeschi concluded.
Tedeschi’s comment suggests there’s a desire to maintain a certain divide between live and online poker. Even if COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of online majors, they need to be seen as separate from long-standing events such as the Partypoker Online Millions and PokerStars WCOOP.
Whatever online tournament schedules will look like in the future, the landscape has changed. The WPT World Championships may have gotten off to a slower start than expected, but Event #2 beat its $1 million guarantee.
With the first Hold’em event set to start on August 1, the outlook is positive. Tedeschi isn’t sure which events he’ll play next, though he wants to end the series “in style” by playing the $10,000 WPT World Online Championships Main Event where he’ll try to add another title to his collection.