The numbers are in and the bosses at the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour are all smiling. Both tournament operators have thrived during the lockdown period, but which one came out on top?
The final figures for the WSOP Online Super Circuit and WPT Online Series make for positive reading. Despite being thrown a curveball by the coronavirus, the two companies acted quickly to avoid disaster.
WSOP partnered with GGPoker to host an online Circuit series while the WPT ran its first-ever digital festival on Partypoker. When the betting was over and the winners were crowned, both events surpassed expectations.
WSOP and WPT Thrive During Pandemic
Together, the WSOP and GGPoker paid out more than $134 million between May 3 and 31. That figure would have made the Online Super Circuit the largest online tournament festival in history before PokerStars snuck in at the last minute to guarantee $135 million for SCOOP.
Still, the fact GGPoker was able to put PokerStars under pressure is an achievement in and of itself.
The WPT also notched a number of new records in May, the most significant of which is that it beat its own guarantee by $22.8 million.
WSOP Online Super Circuit Festival on GGPoker Stats
- Number of events: 516
- Total guarantee: $102.3 million
- Total prize money awarded: $134.7 million
- Total number of entries: 485,851
- Single biggest event prize pool: $12,372,500 (WSOPC Ring Event #8: HR Championship $10M GTD)
- Largest number of entries in a single event: 29,357 (WSOPC Ring Event #9: Mini Main Event)
- Amount raised for charity: $177,045 (WSOPC Ring Event #1: COVID-19 Charity Event)
WPT Online on Partypoker Stats:
- Number of events: 94
- Total guarantee: $30 million
- Total prize money awarded: $52.8 million
- Total number of entries: 111,183
- 2,130 entries in the WPT Online Championship; the largest WPT Main Tour event in history.
- 3,554 entries in the WPTDeepStacks Online; the most entries ever in a WPTDeepStacks event.
Both Tours Win Big
On sheer size alone, the WSOP Online Super Circuit is the clear winner. However, when you divide the total amount of prizes award by the number of MTTs, the WPT Online Series comes out on top:
- WSOP Online Super Circuit average prize pool = $261,046
- WPT Online Series average prize pool = $561,702
*Total prizepool/Total number of events
Comparing the two festivals in this way is somewhat unfair, as the WSOP’s offering had a greater focus on low-stakes events. But, pound-for-pound, the WPT can claim a victory in this department.
The achievement is made more impressive by that fact this was the WPT’s first online tournament series. Of course, the counter to this is that GGPoker had never hosted an event as big as the WSOP Online Super Circuit.
Coronavirus-Induced Innovations Benefit Everyone
The allure of WSOP Circuit rings had a positive impact for everyone concerned in the online series. The WSOP kept its tournament bandwagon rolling during the coronavirus pandemic and GGPoker experienced a surge of activity as a result.
Traffic on GGPoker increased by 300% since March, according to data recorded by GameIntel. The increase from a daily average of 2,000 players to more then 3,500 comes as other sites have seen activity drop.
This suggests that online festivals are an effective way to get ahead in online poker. PokerStars has used this tactic for more than a decade. Now, however, others are catching up.
With a “new normal” prompting changes across the industry, more online events are likely. Both the WSOP and WPT have shown what’s possible. Regardless of which organization can lay claim to hosting the most successful series, the latest stats will go down as a win for the online poker industry as a whole.