Thought that the World Series of Poker was over? Not so fast! On Friday, the World Series of Poker unveiled a new event and it’s a big one — the official 2020 WSOP Main Event. It will be held in late November and December through WSOP.com and GG Poker, with independent events running on each site. Once down to a final table, each tournament will move to the Rio in Las Vegas or King’s Casino in the Czech Republic.

The WSOP Main Event will then culminate in an epic heads-up match between the two winners on December 30th in Las Vegas (live!) to play for the title and the 2020 WSOP Main Event bracelet. Like many live tournament events this year, the World Series of Poker had been moved online due to the global pandemic, that was until the WSOP provided this new solution for this final event of 2020.

WSOP needed a definitive champion for 2020

The announcement was surprising to some who assumed that the Main Event had been already held this year. A winner, Stoyan Madanzhiev, was crowned in September on GG Poker. At the time he was often referred by some as the “WSOP Main Event Champion.” On the current WSOP Wikipedia page, Madanzhiev is noted to as the WSOP Online Main Event Champion, but it’s a name that few poker fans can likely name off the top of their head.

This isn’t disrespecting Madanzhiev, but is likely the nature of holding a prestigious event online versus the glamour of watching it live on ESPN and the winner holding up the bracelet during the iconic post-tournament ceremony.

With the newly announced WSOP Main Event, all players will have the opportunity of claiming the bracelet and becoming this year’s official champ. And we’ll be able to watch it all unfold live.

Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker, had the following to say of the news:

There must be a World Champion in 2020. Poker’s history is too important. It’s a unique format for the Main Event, but this is a unique year. We want to keep players’ health and safety top of mind and still deliver a great televised showcase for the game we love.

How will the 2020 WSOP Main Event work?

The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event will be like none other in the 51-year history of the event. For one, the event will primarily be held online. Once play is down to a final table, the players will reconvene shortly after to play in person in front of cameras. What will make this year’s truly unique is that it will be split into two sections, a domestic WSOP on WSOP.com and an international tournament on GG Poker.

Each of those tournaments will play online as normal before moving on to a live final table in their respective locations. After a winner of each tournament has been crowned, a final heads-up battle will be held on December 30th for an additional $1 million in added prizes. The winner of the heads-up match will be crowned the 2020 World Series of Poker champion and will receive the coveted Main Event bracelet.

Dates for each of WSOP Main Event tournaments:

EventLocationDateNotes
Day 1a of International TournamentGG PokerNovember 29thOpen to all players outside of the United States on GG Poker
Day 1b of International TournamentGG pokerDecember 5th
Day 1c of International TournamentGG PokerDecember 6th
Day 2 of International TournamentGG PokerDecember 7thDay will play down to the final 9
Day 3 of International Tournament (Final Table)King's Casino, Czech RepublicDecember 15thWinner crowned, will move on to Las Vegas
Day 1 of USA Tournament WSOP.comDecember 13th, 2020Players must be physically in New Jersey or Nevada to play
Day 2 of USA TournamentWSOP.comDecember 14th, 2020Day will play down to the final 9
Day 3 of USA Tournament (Final Table)WSOP.comDecember 28th, 2020Winner crowned, will move on to Las Vegas
Heads-Up ChampionshipRio Hotel and Casino, Las VegasDecember 30th, 2020The winner of International and USA tournament will be WSOP Main Event champion

Questions and answers

What format will the 2020 WSOP use?

The tournament will operate under a traditional freezeout format, which will allow players a single entry.

What will the buy-in be for the 2020 WSOP Main Event?

Like the freezeout format, the WSOP Main Event will have its normal $10,000 buy-in.

What will the structure look like for the 2020 WSOP Main Event?

Players will start with 60,000 chips with blinds increasing every 30 minutes. Late registration will be held for the first 6 hours. Blinds will start at 100/200 with a 50 chip ante.

Where can you play the 2020 WSOP Main Event?

To play in the United States, you must be physically located in Delaware, Nevada or New Jersey while playing. If you are outside of these states, you can still play, but you will need to visit the state during the Main Event. International players have a bit more flexibility. They can play the international portion of the WSOP Main Event on GG Poker as long as the poker room accepts players of your country.

Of course, should you make the final table of each tournament, you will need to travel to either the Czech Republic (international players) or Las Vegas, Nevada (players in the United States). Should you be lucky enough to win either tournament, you will then need to play in Las Vegas on December 30th.

What happens if travel restrictions are put in place?

In the event of COVID-19 causing further travel restrictions, the WSOP reserves the right to hold the final portion of the Main Event online as well.

How can I watch the 2020 WSOP Main Event?

Both the final table of the international and U.S. tournaments will be filmed for viewing. Per tradition, ESPN will air coverage of the 2020 WSOP Main Event with Norman Chad and Lon McEachern at the mic.

Will WSOP Main Event satellites be available?

Yes, players can enter WSOP Main Event satellites on both GG Poker and WSOP.com for as little as $1. Freerolls will also be available for players on both sites.

If I am a non-US player or not located in New Jersey or Nevada, can I still play in the U.S. portion of the Main Event?

Yes, you can travel to play in the U.S. portion of the WSOP Main Event by traveling to Nevada or New Jersey and playing on WSOP.com. Players will be given special Main Event room rates at select resorts in New Jersey and Nevada. Players are encouraged to visit the WSOP Main Event page for additional details. If you want to get a jump on things, you can even create your account and deposit funds on the poker room before arriving.

Can I play on both the GG Poker and WSOP.com portions of the events?

No, you can only have a total of one entry into the WSOP 2020 Main Event. You must choose to enter on only one site. Player information will be shared between the two poker rooms to prevent players from abusing these terms.

What happens if a player has COVID before during the final table portions of the Main Event?

If you make the final table, make sure you don’t get sick! A player who tests positive for the COVID-19 prior to the start of the live portion of the Main Event will be disqualified and receive the minimum payout.

What happens if an 18 year old international player wins the international tourrnament?

Because the minimum gambling age in Las Vegas is 21, in this scenario, the heads-up portion of the event will be moved to Europe.

Reaction from poker players

Players are reacting to the news with mixed feelings, with some excited at the prospect of a real 2020 WSOP Main Event champion while others are questioning the decision.

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