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The Record-Setting WSOP Online 2020 at a Glance

By Charles S
Published in News
September 11, 2020
6 min read

Seven weeks of non-stop poker action has come to an end at the WSOP 2020 Online

The inaugural World Series of Poker Online 2020 festival on GGNetwork wrapped up last week. It all kicked off back in mid-July, with the last of 54 coveted gold bracelets awarded on September 8th, and multiple records set in between.

It was the first time that players outside of the United States could compete for a WSOP bracelet online. This international portion of the series followed in the footsteps of the festival, which featured 31 tournaments in as many days in the month of July but was available only to players in Nevada and New Jersey.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the records that were set over the past seven weeks:

  • Most Number of Seven-Figure Prize Pools in an Online Poker Series: 45 (out of 54)
  • Second-Biggest Prize Pool in an Online Poker Series: ~ $147,808,535
  • Biggest Average Prize Pool in Any Poker Series: ~ $2,737,195
  • Biggest Number of Millionaires Made in an Online Poker Series: 13
  • Biggest Number of Millionaire Individual Prizes in an Online Poker Series: 11
  • Biggest Number of Nationalities in a Single WSOP Series: 166

The spotlight of the entire festival for all poker enthusiasts was certainly the $5,000 Main Event which had at least $25 million up for grabs, the biggest guarantee of any online poker tournament to date. Only 12 out of the 56 events had a guarantee, yet the chance to win a WSOP Online bracelet from the comforts of home ensured that players from 166 countries took a shot at being a part of poker history.

Biggest Attendance in Any WSOP Event: 44,765 (Event #71: BIG 50)

This record was broken no less than three times this festival. Right at the start, Event #32: $100 The Opener drew a staggering 29,036 entries. It was quickly eclipsed by Event #84: $100 WSOP MILLION$ with 34,787 entries. However, it was eventually Event #71: $50 BIG 50 which held the title with a massive 44,765 entries.

Main Event Sets New Record

A total of $5 million in giveaways were promised throughout the entire festival, and poker fans from all over the world had the chance to win satellite seats in various promotions. Especially for the Main Event, satellites would be crucial as 3,150 seats were awarded in MTT qualifiers. Players could win multiple seats, with the unused ones turned into tournament dollars at the end of the festival.

Ultimately, a late surge in the last few out of 23 starting days ensured that the guarantee was met with 5,802 entries (which included 3,470 unique players). The outcome was a new record prize pool of $27,559,500 for an online poker tournament, which beat the previous record set by the partypoker MILLIONS Online in 2018 which drew $21,385,000 in prize money.

Event #77: $5,000 Main Event Records:

  • Biggest Prize Pool for an Online Poker Event: $27,559,500
  • Biggest Individual Prize in an Online Poker Event: $3,904,686 (Stoyan Madanzhiev)
  • Most Millionaires Crowned in an Online Poker Event: 4

Bulgaria’s Stoyan Madanzhiev dominated the final table with aggressive play, and his victory came with the biggest individual prize awarded thus far in an online poker tournament. With four seven-figure cashes awarded in the same event, the Main Event also holds the record for the biggest turnout for a $5,000 buy-in on the virtual felt so far.

Total Prize Pool & Entries Stats

The entire tournament series created a total prize pool of approximately $147,808,535 and 45 out of the 54 events boasted seven-figure prize pools. An average prize pool of ~ $2,737,195 is the biggest seen to date in a major online poker festival and a total of 239,754 entries emerged, making for an average of 4,440 entries in each event.

As can be expected, the range for buy-ins and entries was quite large. Players on a budget had the chance to compete for a WSOP Online bracelet from as little as $50, and 25 events featured a buy-in of less than $1,000.

Alek Stasiak The Only Two-Time Champion

Various satellite success stories contributed to a memorable series. Alek Stasiak, for example, started for as low as $10 and succeeded in two qualifiers before taking down Event #33: $1,111 Every 1 for Covid Relief for $343,204. It was his maiden victory at the WSOP, and he even added a second bracelet to his collection by topping a field of 2,006 entries in Event #52: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em to become the only two-time champion of the festival.

Other Interesting Facts

  • Five events attracted more than 10,000 entries; another three attracted more than 5,000 entries
  • Total number of entries for the entire festival: 239,754
  • Average number of entries per event for the festival: ~ 4,440
  • Smallest buy-in vs Biggest buy-in: $50 vs $25,000
  • Average buy-in per event for the festival: $2,549
  • 25 tournaments featured a buy-in of less than $1,000
  • Most number of cashes during the festival: 23 (Arnaud Enselme)
  • 39 players reached multiple final tables, six of them reached three: Ajay Chabra, Brunno Botteon, Connor Drinan, Mike Watson, Paul Teoh, Sergi Reixach
  • More than $21.9 million in cash prizes were awarded to the event winners
  • Three bracelets won by female players: Kristen Bicknell, Thi Truong, Melika Razavi
  • One two-time champion: Alek Stasiak (Canada)

While the international part of the festival was not available to players on American soil, many poker pros traveled to Europe, South America or the Caribbean to compete for poker’s most sought after prize. Subsequently, the United States emerged as the most successful country with nine winners, followed by Canada with six and Brazil with four champions.

  • Players from 31 different nationalities won a bracelet
  • First time winners for the following countries: Turkey, Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, Vietnam
  • Most successful countries: United States (9), Canada (5), Brazil (4)

Players from 31 different countries (if counting Wales and Hong Kong as separate entities) won a bracelet, and Turkey, Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia and Vietnam appeared with first-time victories throughout the festival.

Successful Series for Female Players

Among the bracelet winners were also three female players: Kristen Bicknell won her third career bracelet, while Thi Truong and Melika Razavi triumphed for the first time. Nahrain Tamero won the Main Event of the series, making four female winners in open events and tying for the most of any WSOP festival in history thus far.

Biggest Individual Prize in Poker for a Female Player: $2,748,605 (Wenling Gao)

There was almost another female champion in the Main Event as Wenling Gao finished second for $2,748,605, the biggest individual prize of any female player in poker to date. Michelle Shah, Ronit Chamani and Yuan Yuan Li also recorded runner-up finishes, with Shah’s 20 cashes putting her in the top five overall.

Most Cashes and Biggest Cashes Awarded

UK-based French poker pro Arnaud Enselme cashed in 23 events, followed by Kazuki Ikeuchi and Jose Severino with 21 cashes each. Ami Barer cashed in 20 tournaments, while another seven players cashed 19 times including Daniel Negreanu, Sparrow Cheung, Natural8 Team Bling member Anson Tsang and Team Hot ambassador Pete Chen.

Across the entire festival, 11 players earned seven-figure prizes and another two players crossed more than $1 million in cashes thanks to their performance at the online tables:

PlayerCountryTotal Cash
Stoyan MadanzhievBulgaria$3,910,705
Wenling GaoChina$2,748,606
Tyler RuegerUnited States$1,928,887
Christian RudolphGermany$1,829,030
Connor DrinanCanada$1,542,388
Daniel DvoressCanada$1,499,840
Thomas WardNew Zealand$1,362,682
Chris HunichenUnited States$1,343,478
Shankar PillaiIndia$1,208,062
Bruno BotteonBrazil$1,108,516
Caio De AlmeidaBrazil$1,086,739
Fedor HolzGermany$1,086,650
Daniyar AubakirovKazakhstan$1,041,877

Eight Players Win Bracelet and Sponsorship on Natural8

This festival was a very successful one for players on Natural8, as eight of them won a bracelet and thus earned Team Bling sponsorships worth between $7,500 to $15,000. Canadian poker pro Daniel Dvoress headlined the team with the biggest cash of $1,489,289 in Event #48: $1,500 MILLIONAIRE MAKER.

Japan’s Shoma Ishikawa was the first Natural8 player to win a title, and he was quickly followed by Hun Wei Lee and Marcelo Jakovljevic Pudla. The third final table proved to be a charm for Malaysia’s Paul Teoh who won Event #47: $1,000 Short Deck No Limit Hold’em to become the fourth member of the team.

One day after Dvoress dominated his final table on the road to victory, the second Brazilian player to win a bracelet in this series did so on Natural8. Luis Eduardo Assuncao Garla defeated a field of 3,247 entries in Event #55: HK$8,000 NLHE Asia Championship to take home HK$3,551,611 and also hold onto his lead in the Asia Time Zone Events Leaderboard, earning the unique Pure Gold Dragon trophy.

Hong Kong’s Anson Tsang topped another Asia Time Zone Event and claimed his second career bracelet in Event #68: $500 Deepstack No-Limit Hold’em. A few days later, Thi Truong emerged victorious in Event #74: $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha to cement the final squad of eight.

In the flagship Main Event, seven Natural8 players out of 38 contenders made it to the final day. A trio reached the final table as Samuel Taylor (9th place), Stefan Schillhabel (7th place) and Satoshi Isomae (5th place) narrowly missed out on a potential $100,000 Team Bling sponsorship and the opportunity to be captain of the team.

This wraps up a very successful online poker festival on GGNetwork, with further exciting promotions and tournaments already scheduled for non-stop action on Natural8, one of poker’s fastest growing online poker platforms.

Players who missed out on WSOP Online 2020 will be pleased to hear of the GGSOP (Good Game Series of Poker) tournaments, aimed to recreate the WSOP experience but for lower-stakes players. Buy-in start at only $2.50! There will also be the signature GGMasters on Natural8 (with events happening every single day), and the MILLION$ series (with a total of $6 million in guarantees each week).

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