WSOP To Hold Live Finale Main Event In 2020

The World Series of Poker will, after all, hold a Live Main Event in 2020. And with the best of the best in the American tournament hitting a head-to-head showdown with the winner of a foreign WSOP Main Event, online poker players will qualify to get there.

Players will play the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em World Championship at New Jersey’s top online poker sites and their Nevada counterparts, which begins Dec. 13. After relegation, scheduled to end Dec. 14, the top nine players will qualify to travel for a live, in-person final table.

According to a release from WSOP.com, the WSOP main event for U.S. players will be Dec. 28 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

For international poker players, there will be a parallel event that will culminate in an in-person final table on Dec. 15 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

In order to declare a final champion, the American and international champions will then face off one-on-one at The Rio on Dec. 30. At least 1 million is won by that winner and the gold bracelet that goes with becoming WSOP Main Event champion. On a staggered basis, ESPN will broadcast the main event.

In a release, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said: “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.”

All players must have an active WSOP.com account with real money, and to be eligible, players must be in Nevada or New Jersey. The tournament is in a freezeout style, because if a player is disqualified, there is no re-entry. Each player begins with 60,000 chips and each stage will last 30 minutes, at least early on.

Any player who qualifies for either final table but does not wish to travel (or is unable) will forfeit their stack of chips and earn final ninth place cash. For further guidance, WSOP.com has a Frequently Asked Questions link .

The international portion of the tournament will run via the online poker platform of GGPoker.com. It is possible for entrants to start on any of three dates: Nov. 29, Dec. 5 or Dec. 6. By Dec. 7, any remaining players can continue to play until there are nine players to qualify for the in-person Dec. 15 game. Players are only expected to select one of the three starting dates.

For a very unique poker year the unusual main event format for the WSOP Main Event is apt. Major promoters relied on players at top online poker sites to keep their events running when the coronavirus pandemic shut down brick-and-mortar casinos in the United States and around the world.

There was reason to wonder whether the WSOP Main Event tradition of the world’s top players meeting around the same table will happen at all in 2020, with live events shut down for several months and more big events changing to an online poker format.

In early autumn, the WSOP commemorated its 50th anniversary by organising 50 online poker events with guaranteed prize money of $3 million. Instead of an in-person event that was planned for Cherokee, North Carolina, in September, among other activities in 2020, WSOP.com also held an online Summer Series tournament with $3 million in prizes and a Global Casino Championships.

This week the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, the home of the WSOP since 2005, just announced it will reopen on Dec. 22; because of the coronavirus, it has been closed since March. The Rio, the last country-wide Caesars Entertainment property to reopen, will be back in business just in time for the holidays, and once again to welcome the most popular poker tournament.