The 2015 World Series of Poker is aiming for a milestone in the blending of live and online poker with the inclusion of the first WSOP bracelet event to be played online.
Technically, the event – #64, a $1,000 buy-in no limit hold’em tournament – is a hybrid, as the final two players will have to appear in-person at the Rio for heads-up play to award the bracelet.
Event #64 takes place at noon on July 2nd. The final two will play live at the Rio on July 3rd.
As for the motivation behind having the heads-up finale at the Rio, WSOP.com head Bill Rini told OPR that there was “a lot of back and forth on this point,” but that WSOP “wanted to be able to award the bracelet to the winner at the Rio.”
“Part of the experience of winning a WSOP bracelet is that photo with the bracelet,” Rini added.
The WSOP will release additional information here as the event draws closer.
The addition of an online event to this year’s WSOP meets with another wrinkle new for 2015 – the presence of mobile apps for WSOP NV’s real-money online poker site – to create a unique possibility: multi-tabling WSOP bracelet events.
Event #64 is scheduled to run the same day as Event #65 ($1,500 7 Card Stud Hi-Low-8 or Better). And several preceding events – most notably the Little One for One Drop and the HORSE Championship – will run over into July 2nd.
While players have certainly been registered for simultaneous events in the past – and a few have bounced back and forth between tables of multiple live events – the presence of an online event creates the conditions for the first true multi-tabling of WSOP bracelet events.
While the ability to multi-table WSOP events is admittedly largely a novelty, it’s still a useful proxy for expressing the growing integration between the live WSOP and the online experience.
Despite the lack of an established playbook or a mobile client, the WSOP witnessed a traffic surge and pulled off an incredibly successful Main Event satellite during the 2014 World Series of Poker.
With some of the bugs and bumps worked out, the addition of a bracelet event to further stimulate player and media interest and the absence of a meaningful competitor, we should see tighter integration and measurably superior results during WSOP 2015.
The online bracelet only serves to highlight how much more attractive the nascent regulated U.S. online poker market would be if states could easily share liquidity.
Consider: Event 64 will only be available at WSOP Nevada, and not to players at WSOP’s New Jersey site.
What level of interest and participation do you think would be generated if players from New Jersey (let alone drive-ins from New York and Pennsylvania) could take a shot at an official WSOP bracelet online?