The World Series of Poker (WSOP) and GGPoker Network today announced plans to host 2020’s hybrid online and live version of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold-Em World Championship, known better to poker players and fans as the Main Event. The Main Event will begin for international players on Sunday, Nov. 29 and domestically for US players on Sunday, Dec. 13.
Due to travel restrictions and out of an abundance of caution for player safety, this year’s format will be unique, where early round play will begin online with one entry on WSOP.com or GGPoker Network (Home of Natural8), before shifting to a live setting for final table action on two continents.
Each “bracket” will pay out prize money to tournament entrants independently. The final table will be a world’s first, as an ultimate heads-up duel for the World Championship, where $1 million in prize money will be on the line, courtesy of Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and GGPoker Network. The Main Event will be held consistent to the traditional “freeze-out” standards of the Main Event, offering only a single entry, as well as the longest levels and deepest stacks ever offered on the online platform.
All in-person tournaments, domestic US and international, will be subject to special COVID rules and procedures, the details of which will be published at a later date and will require players to undergo a required health screening prior to live participation. All participants must agree to abide by all applicable rules.
U.S. residents will be able to play the Main Event on the WSOP.com platform in either New Jersey or Nevada beginning on Sunday, Dec. 13. The $10,000 event is expected to take two full days to reach the final table, with play being suspended for an overnight break after approximately 12 hours of action. The tournament will be paused when play hits the final table, with the final nine players traveling to Las Vegas for the TV taping and culmination of the tournament to take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, subject to applicable regulatory approval.
International residents eligible to use GGPoker Network’s popular online poker platform will have three dates from which to choose their starting flight. Similar to the traditional offline events, players may only choose one date of play. Similar to the domestic flight, and subject to casino availability, play will be paused for the final nine contestants who will report to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic to play their final table in a live TV taping. Should travel restrictions or a casino shutdown prevent the live portion from moving forward in December, organizers reserve the right to continue the tournament play online or reschedule to a later date.
Subject to local regulatory approval
Finally, the winner of the Domestic US Tournament and the winner of the International Tournament will meet at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, subject to applicable regulatory approval, for a televised showdown on Wednesday, Dec.30, 2020. In addition to any prize monies won by entrants in their respective tournament, WSOP and GGPoker Network have committed an additional sum of $1 million to the winner of the Heads-Up match, along with the Main Event championship bracelet and the title of 2020 World Champion.
Note: Should the international winner be under the age of 21 and thereby ineligible to play in the state of Nevada, organizers reserve the right to change the date and location of the Heads-Up match.
Heads-Up Championship of Domestic Winner vs International Winner: Wednesday, Dec. 30, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas*
A comprehensive list of satellite events allowing qualification for as little $1 will be available on both WSOP.com and GGPoker Network.
To welcome visiting players, Caesars Entertainment will offer special Main Event room rates at several resorts in Nevada and New Jersey. Additionally, new options to deposit money into a WSOP.com account and cash out in person will be available for the first time at Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, NV. For more information about special hotel rates, and cash at the cage locations, WSOP.
Note, players are allowed to create and/or fund their online poker accounts prior to arriving within the state borders of Nevada and New Jersey. However, they must be geolocated through a CPU or mobile device to be within the state borders to be able to commence any gaming activity. New players may require document verification and are highly encouraged to register early.
As has been the case each year since 2003, ESPN will air coverage of the 2020 WSOP Main Event featuring Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.
“There must be a World Champion in 2020,” said Ty Stewart, Executive Director of the World Series of Poker. “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.”
Added GGPoker Head of Poker Operations Steve Preiss, “We’re very happy to continue to deepen our relationship with WSOP. It was a huge summer of record-setting action at GGPoker and we’re excited to offer players access to the biggest tournament of all.”