It’s the start of No-Limit Hold’em week in the WPT World Online Championships, and that’s brought poker’s elite out in droves. However, the numbers are still lower than expected in the smaller-stakes events.
The WPT’s latest online festival started on July 18 with two Omaha events. The first fell just short of its guarantee, but Event #2 exceeded expectations and took the series into its latest round of action on a high.
In what will come as no surprise to most, the first Hold’em event of the WPT World Online Championships has been the most popular so far. Two starting flights between August 1 and 2 saw 1,062 players buy-in for $3,200.
Second Guarantee Falls
With the $3 million guarantee pushed to $3.186 million, the 157 Day 1 survivors are competing for a top prize worth $540,664.
Day 1B leader, Ioannis Angelou-Konstas, will be the man to beat when Day 2 kicks off on Monday. Also riding high in Event #3 are Day 1A chip leader Ali Imsirovic, Finnish online legend Sami Kelopuro, and German high roller Fedor Holz.
Day 2 will see the remaining 157 play down to nine before the finale is streamed live on Twitch and other platforms on Tuesday.
Breaking a second successive guarantee will go down as a win for the WPT and host site Partypoker. The decision to kick off with two Omaha events was always going to be a gamble. Although the variant has gained popularity in recent years, it still trails Hold’em on the tournament scene.
Still, players have gradually found their way to the tables, even with the WSOP’s online series offering alternative options.
Highs and Lows for WPT
Running in direct competition with the ongoing WSOP Online Bracelet Series, which ran on WSOP.com in the US, and which is targeting ROW players on GGPoker, it will be impossible to avoid making comparisons between the two once the last cards are dealt.
WSOP organizers have stayed true to the format used in Las Vegas by offering events with a range of buy-ins.
In juxtaposition, the WPT World Online Championships features 36 events at three different levels: mini ($33+), micro ($320+), and championship ($3,200+). So far, none of the mini and micro-events have breached their guarantees.
This would suggest the WSOP is leading the way when it comes to engaging small and mid-stakes players. At the elite level, Partypoker and the WPT are both proving to be go-to destinations for poker’s top players.