Two weeks in, the World Series of Poker is off to a flying start in Las Vegas.
Attendance is up across many events, particularly in the mixed games, and controversy seems more muted than in years past. The hallway hawkers are still creeping everyone out, but at least there haven’t been any confirmed cases of obscure disease.
Online poker is thriving this summer, too.
WSOP.com now has multistate poker across Nevada and New Jersey, giving customers in both markets access to the same tournaments. That includes a record four online bracelet events this year, which were NV-only until this year.
The site hosted the first of the 2018 bracelet events — the first multistate bracelet event — earlier this month. It was about as successful as anticipated. NJ online poker players bolstered a record-setting turnout of almost 3,000 entries.
Event No. 10 carried a $365 buy-in, up from $333 last year. The additional interstate traffic was more than enough to counteract the increase. The event broke its own record as the largest tournament WSOP NJ and WSOP Nevada has ever hosted.
Registration closed with 2,123 players, up almost 20 percent over last year’s turnout of 1,780. Players reentered 849 times between them, bringing the total to 2,972 entries (up from 2,509). The prize pool was just shy of $1 million.
William “twooopair” Reymond took it down, winning a gold bracelet without ever setting foot inside the Rio. His first WSOP cash was good for more than $150,000. Reymond faced some tough competition down the stretch, including a final table appearance alongside the site’s end boss.
Anthony Spinella has an incredible record on WSOP.com over the past three years. Playing under the screen name “casedismised,” Spinella first won the inaugural online bracelet event in 2015. Then earlier this year, the WSOP Circuit gave away its first ring online, and he won that one, too.
Spinella almost did it again in this bracelet event, though he flew under the radar for the duration.
Now playing as “nowb3atthat” in Nevada, Spinella made another deep run before dropping out in seventh place. According to the official report, he lost most of his stack running pocket jacks into Stephen “SteveSpuell” Buell’s aces.
It was Reymond, however, who delivered the final blow with ace-deuce on his way to the title.
WSOP.com Head of Online Poker Bill Rini tells us that 565 players were logged in from New Jersey — more than a quarter of the total field.
That seems like a solid number, with most of the online poker community playing from Las Vegas this time of year. Cash-game liquidity across the interstate network has only grown eight percent this summer, but tournament turnout has been stellar.
The NJ logins mostly come from recreational players and those with obligations that would keep them from participating if the events were still restricted to NV. Like Taylor Von Kriegenbergh, although it’s strange to include him in this group.
Von Kriegenbergh is well known in the poker community, a former full-time player with more than $2 million in live tournament earnings. Nowadays, he teaches third grade for a charter school program in New York City. His summer-long grinds are behind him.
“I couldn’t make it to Las Vegas on a school night,” he laughed. Von Kriegenbergh could make it to Hoboken, though, which gave him access to the bracelet event from afar. He almost won the thing.
Playing as “ZeroTo100,” Von Kriegenbergh made the deepest run of any NJ player, exiting in 11th place. He earned close to $10,000 and his eighth-career WSOP cash from 2,500 miles outside of Las Vegas.
Each of the final ten players was physically in Nevada.
There are three more chances to win a bracelet this summer, stacked up toward the end of the schedule:
That $1k, in particular, has a chance to generate the largest prize pool in WSOP.com history if it can draw around 1,400 entries. Considering last year’s event had 1,312 from Nevada alone, that seems well within its range.
Those buy-ins may be steep for part-time players, but there are still some opportunities to qualify for less than full price. A $22 satellite for Event No. 47, for instance, guarantees at least 22 seats on June 21 (the day prior to the tournament).
There is a special ‘OnlinePokerReport.com WSOP satellite’ in the lobby for the event on June 29 (No. 61, $1,000 buy-in). The satellite takes place on June 23 at 3:30 pm Pacific / 6:30 Eastern. The buy-in is $5; the password is OPR1000.
Event Nos. 61 and 63 each have a $1 million guarantee on their prize pools.