WSOP Announces December Main Event With Live Finale

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has announced its plans to hold a hybrid online/live main event in December, culminating in a winner-take-all finale for the title and accompanying bracelet. The tournament will serve as a replacement of sorts for the otherwise-cancelled WSOP and WSOP-Europe series, and will be run largely online on WSOP.com in the United States and on GGPoker for the rest of the world.

By: Haley Hintze

The move, brought on by the poker world’s continuing struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, is an attempt to continue a run of the WSOP’s official live 10,000 No-Limit Hold-Em World Championship, which with this altered format will then name a WSOP World Champion for the 51st consecutive year.

The just-announced event will consist of two different sub-events, one each for the United States and international poker communities. As with the 2020 WSOP Online series which ran last summer, players outside the US can participate on GGPoker. The international online “bracket” will have three opening flights, on November 29, December 5, and December 6, respectively, with the flights combining for a December 7 Day 2 which will play all the way down to a nine-player international bracket final.

That international final will be held on Tuesday, December 15, at Kings Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Kings would have hosted the live WSOP Europe series earlier this fall, had it not been cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.

The US bracket follows a similar format. Anyone playing from Nevada or New Jersey (the two states where the WSOP is licensed and a player-pooling agreement exists) will play Day 1 on Sunday, December 13. Day 2 on Monday, December 14 will likewise trim the surviving players down to a nine-player US finale, which will be held at the WSOP’s current home base, the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, on December 28.

The international and US brackets will have separate prizepools, each determined by the actual number of entrants. The World Championship bracelet, however, will be awarded to the winner of a heads-up match between the US and international bracket winners, along with an extra $1 million payday. That heads-up finish will take place on Wednesday, December 30.

The WSOP has announced a series of conditions and backup plans to cover most possibilities that could occur. Such eventualities include things as either the Rio or Kings Casino being ordered to close, which would result in either or both bracket finales being moved to alternate locations. The announcement also includes a provision to move the heads-up finale out of Nevada should the international bracket winner be between the ages of 18 and 20, since Nevada and the live US-based WSOP have an age-21 minimum.

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