$850,000 Guaranteed Online Championships To Complement Live Series, Online Satellites

One Thousand WSOP.com Nevada Players Expected To Win Seats For Bracelet Events This Summer

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The integration between live and online poker is on full display in Nevada, where WSOP NV has already begun ramping up its World Series of Poker satellite schedule.

This will mark the fourth consecutive year that WSOP NV and the live Series will run in parallel. Since 2014, the site has offered players ample opportunities to parlay their way into events at the Rio.

This year’s extravaganza all but necessitates an even more aggressive satellite rollout. WSOP NV has expanded the number of its online bracelet events from one to three.

Here’s a look at what players can expect.

The ramp-up

WSOP NV has already begun peppering its lobby with World Series of Poker qualifiers. Highlights of this month’s schedule include:

  • Kick-off Weekend Package Qualifiers: $30 buy-in, rebuy & add-on tournament that guarantees a $333 Online Bracelet event ticket and one $565 Colossus III seat to the winner. Running every night in May.
  • Satellites to WSOP Event No. 8 The $333 Little Grind Online Bracelet: Daily $5 and $10 direct satellites into the smallest of the three online bracelet events.
  • 10 Seat GTD to WSOP Event No. 8: Guarantees at least 10 seats to the $333 buy-in online bracelet event.
  • Main Event qualifier: Weekly satellite that guarantees one $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat. This qualifier is a re-entry with a $200 price point. Runs Sundays at 8 p.m. local time.

In addition, WSOP NV is hosting weekly $30 re-entry satellites into the $1,000 buy-in online bracelet event, now dubbed “The Classic.”

The real fireworks begin in June

Beginning June 1, WSOP NV will scale up its satellite schedule to previously unmatched levels. According to the operator, some 1,000 WSOP gold bracelet seats should be won online, up from approximately 700 in 2016.

Highlights include:

  • Four times daily, the site will host online bracelet qualifiers. These run at 3:30 p.m, 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Supplementing these will be four daily qualifiers into live Series events. Typically these will award $1,000 – $2,000 tickets into events of a player’s choosing, although some gift seats into specific events. Running times are 6 p.m., 8 p.m. (two seat guarantees), 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
  • The day prior to all three bracelet events, WSOP NV will host special satellites which will guarantee between five and 33 seats. The first of these occurs on June 2 at 5 p.m. and will guarantee 33 seats into The Little Grind Online Bracelet.

Interspersed among these satellites are a swath of secondary qualifiers, that award last-minute tickets into events such as the Colossus III, Crazy Eights, the Millionaire Maker, the Monster Stack and the Little One for One Drop.

Generally speaking, these satellites will run daily at either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. (sometimes both) beginning one week prior to the live event.

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The Online Championships

Complementing the daily satellites will be WSOP NV’s own tournament extravaganza: The third annual WSOP.com Online Championships.

Unlike PokerStars and Borgata Party in New Jersey, WSOP.com generally shies away from top-flight tournament series, opting instead to host frequent, but modest, one-off events.

The Online Championships is the one hard exception to the rule. The series is roughly on scale with some of the largest offered in the regulated US online poker landscape.

It’s also a series that has grown dramatically since its onset. In 2015 it guaranteed $535,000 across 90 events. That figure has swelled to over $850,000 over 108 events.

The series will run from June 3 right up until July 8, which also happens to be the kickoff date for the Main Event. Series highlights include:

  • Event No. 5: $200 buy-in, $30,000 guaranteed re-entry (June 4 at 7:00 p.m.)
  • Event No. 25: $500 buy-in, $50,000 guaranteed re-entry (June 11 at 4:00 p.m.)
  • Event No. 85: $500 buy-in, $50,000 guaranteed re-entry (July 1 at 4:00 p.m.)
  • Event No. 106: $500 buy-in, $75,000 guaranteed re-entry (July 8 at 4:00 p.m.)

In the mix are also a number of events aimed at budget conscious players. Direct buy-ins to select Online Championships events start as low as $5, and there’s a healthy mix of events featuring price points of $20 or less.

Although it is worth noting that the crux of these lower buy-in events will adhere to the rebuy and add-on format.

Mixed games are severely underrepresented, with just one pot-limit Omaha event showing up on the schedule (Event No. 45), and even that one guarantees just $3,000. All other tournament outcomes will be decided over a game of No Limit Hold’em.

The Scramble

In what has now become tradition, WSOP NV will be hosting one mega satellite into the WSOP Main Event.

The 25 Seat Scramble, which as the name implies will award a minimum of 25 seats into the Main, will run on July 8 — the day after the $1,000 buy-in online bracelet event and in concurrence with Day 1a of the Main Event.

Like previous years it will feature a $200 buy-in and a $250,000 guarantee. Accounting for the $15 entry fee, that means the satellite will need to draw 1,352 players to hit its guarantee.

If recent history is any indicator, it will have little trouble meeting this benchmark. In 2015, the event attracted a total of 1,667 entries, nearly eclipsing that figure in 2016.

But just in case, WSOP NV will be hosting weekly satellites into the Scramble, each of which will guarantee five seats. The price point for these sub-qualifiers, which will run on Sundays at 8 p.m. starting on June 4, will be a relatively measly $10.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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