What’s This? Another 2020 WSOP Main Event?

WSOP Main Event

Bulgaria’s Stoyan Madanzhiev won the WSOP Main Event in August. That tournament took place online at GGPoker and was a massive success. The $5,802 entrants created a $27,559,500 prize pool, which was enough for a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Madanzhiev received $3,904,686 and a gold bracelet for his impressive victory. The World Series of Poker hailed the Bulgarian as the new world champion. He even received a certificate stating that fact. So why have the brains behind the WSOP decided to run another 2020 WSOP Main Event? Does that mean Madanzhiev’s reign as world champion is almost over?

Friday 13th is a day traditionally considered unlucky. It was for Madanzhiev because the WSOP announced a new 2020 WSOP Main Event. The tournament starts in the online poker world before playing the final table live. It’s a bizarre move, to say the least.

2020 WSOP Main Event Domestic and International

There are two online separate WSOP Main Event tournaments to choose from: domestic and international. WSOP.com hosts the domestic WSOP Main Event with GGPoker running the international WSOP Main Event.

U.S. residents have the choice of playing the tournament on WSOP.com in New Jersey or Nevada. The plan is to have a Day 1, a Day 2 that plays down to nine players, then a live final. The final takes place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on December 28.

Date Plan of action
Sun 13 Dec Day 1
Sun 14 Dec Day 2 – play down to final nine players
Mon 28 Dec Final Table – takes place live in Las Vegas

The International WSOP Main Event features a trio of starting flights, a Day 2 and a live final. King’s Casino in Rozvadoz, Czech Republic is where the live final takes place. GGPoker is open to a wide array of countries with the United States a notable exception.

Date Plan of action
Sun 29 Nov Day 1|
Sat 5 Dec Day 1B
Sun 6 Dec Day 1C
Mon 7 Dec Day 2 – play down to final nine players
Tue 15 Dec Final Table – takes place at King’s Casino

Domestic and International Champions Collide

The Domestic and International WSOP Main Event champions collide in another weird twist. Those champions meet at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on December 30 in a massive heads-up match.

Both champions keep whatever prize money they netted from their respective tournaments, but lock horns one-on-one in a $1 million heads-up match. The winner of that clash bags a gold WSOP bracelet and the title of 2020 World Champion.

Ty Stewart, the Executive Director of the World Series of Poker spoke about this new WSOP Main Event.

“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.”

Irresponsible Scheduling

The timing of this announcement couldn’t have been worse if the organisers had tried. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of waning, making travel next to impossible. Several European countries are in full lockdown, including the United Kingdom and Austria. Others have strict restrictions in place.

Asking people to travel halfway around the world is irresponsible at best. Some say it’s downright dangerous.

Then there’s the consideration of the online editions of the 2020 WSOP. Do those results not matter? Are they not part of poker’s history that Stewart seems so keen to press home?

What do you say to Madanzhiev who battled for the right to be world champion? A large percentage of the poker community believe the WSOP devalues the famous bracelet by running an increasing number of events each year. This latest tournament dilutes its value even more.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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