That cross-over between live and online poker has grown every year since real-money play at WSOP.com has been in existence, and escalated to new heights with the addition of the Online Bracelet event last year.
What’s in store this year for this year? WSOP’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini recently helped break it down in an interview with Online Poker Report.
“We set a lot of records in 2015,” Rini said. “Some are more visible like the $860,000 prize pool in the Online Bracelet event and the 1,235 players who played in the 25 Seat Scramble [a qualifier for the main event]. But pretty much everything across the board from deposits to players online was record setting.”
The biggest online tie-in last year, and again this year, is the online event. Play starts online at WSOP.com for a chance for a coveted gold bracelet.
Last year, more than 900 players took part in what was by all accounts an extremely successful event. Two changes were made this year, and the WSOP actually backtracked on a third.
“We made three changes this year, play out the final table online, making the tournament re-entry, and slowing down the structure,” Rini said. “We’ve since gone back to the live final table due to feedback we’ve received from not only players who really want to play it out under the bright lights at the Rio but from staff at the WSOP who think having a live finish is cool. So, technically, that has not changed.”
There were alterations that survived, however.
“The other changes, the ability to re-enter if you bust and slowing down the pace of play a bit, was based on how quickly we saw the tournament play out last year,” Rini said. “We were a little surprised at how quickly the tournament played last year and the one consistent piece of feedback we heard from players was that they felt it was too fast. So we made these changes to address this.”
The buy-in is again $1,000 for a chance to take home a WSOP title in the online-live hybrid event starting July 8.
New this year is another tournament with an online presence: the Turbo Top Up.
You don’t have to play online to enter this one, but it would be a bad idea not to. The buy-in is $1,000 for all players. But if you register to play at WSOP.com and finish first, second, or third in a sit & go before the event starts, you get double the starting stack.
“It’s certainly an advantage to take the top-up, and online we’re running sit and go’s 24 hours a day,” Rini said.
The event starts on June 5.
Of course, players can also qualify online for a number of events, in addition to the $10,000 buy-in main event.
Other qualifying opportunities include:
How many players will qualify online this year?
“I don’t like to make projections like this because we don’t really set a goal of sending ‘x’ number of players,” Rini said. “I can say that we plan on beating all of last year’s numbers but we don’t have specific numbers targeted.”
If you’re a player at WSOP NJ and can’t make it to Las Vegas, you won’t be left out in the cold. New Jersey players are being offered a special match bonus as the World Series of Poker gets underway.
The exclusive Weekly Match Bonus will be for 100% up to $100. New Jersey online poker players must deposit a minimum $10 using the deposit code TROLL between 12:00 a.m. on June 1 through 11:59 p.m. on June 7 to take advantage.
Players will have 30 days to earn out the bonus. This is only valid on WSOP.com New Jersey. The full terms and conditions can be found here.