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The WSOP Online Super Circuit Series wrapped up Tuesday in fittingly impressive fashion. The $1,000 Grand Finale event was the best-performing event of the series, pulling in over four and a half times its guarantee.
The series guaranteed a total of $1.24 million over the course of 18 events but it performed far better than that, awarding $3,945,352 in prize money.
WSOP announced the events on short notice as a replacement for multiple WSOP Circuit stops that were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Looking to build on that success, the company immediately scheduled a bigger-than-ever spring edition of its Online Championships. These will span almost a full month starting this Sunday, April 5 and guarantee $4 million — a record for the US online poker market.
Online Championships have become a seasonal affair for WSOP in recent years — with spring, summer, fall, and winter editions.
The summer series is typically the largest of the four by far. Its schedule coincides with the live World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and therefore benefits from extra players temporarily in Nevada from out-of-state (and out-of-country) markets.
Since the Silver State began sharing liquidity with New Jersey, the WSOP Summer Online Championships has become the largest annual event in the regulated US market. The 2018 series offered $3 million in combined guarantees, increasing to $3.5 million the following year.
This spring’s series will be bigger still.
WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky framed the increase around an “exceptional” response to the Online Super Circuit.
“As a result we’ve come out with our most bullish offering in WSOP.com history. We hope to continue to offer players a chance to win significant prizes for small investments during the Spring Online Championships.”
The spring series will run from April 4 to May 3 and consist of 100 events.
The Main Event, on the final day of the series, carries a $525 buy-in similar to the SCS Main Event but a higher guarantee of $300,000. Warm-up events with additional combined guarantees of $250,000 begin Wednesday but are not considered part of the main series.
Like most tournaments on the WSOP/888 network, it is available to players in NV, NJ, and Delaware.
The Online Super Circuit consisted of 18 events running at a rate of one per day over two and a half weeks. Guarantees started at $30,000 for the smallest event and ran up to $200,000 for the Main. Buy-ins ranged between $215 and $1,000.
It’s well established at this point that the social-distancing measures and casino closures mandated by the outbreak have driven a huge increase in traffic for gambling sites around the world, including poker sites serving the US. This is especially true in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which have both large poker-playing populations and strict measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Since this is a new situation, however, it’s hard to predict exactly how it will affect things. WSOP set modest guarantees for the Online Super Circuit and could have gone a lot higher in retrospect. Every single tournament at least doubled its guarantee — and most tripled it. The median event produced a prize pool of 334% of its guarantee.
You can see the full results at the bottom of this piece.
The most unexpected successes of the series were the two events with $1,000 buy-ins. This is presumably due in large part to live poker pros moving online and looking for events that suit their bankroll.
The events in question were the Grand Finale and the High Roller, which produced the second- and fourth-largest prize pools of the series. Each needed only about 80 entries to meet its $75,000 guarantee. As it turned out, the High Roller got 290 and the Grand Finale a whopping 358.
The latter’s $341,890 prize pool was beaten only by the Main Event, which produced $567,000.
Another highlight of the series was the Monster Stack, which took place at the midway point. It featured the same $525 buy-in as the Main Event and one of the more aggressive guarantees of the series at $150,000, which it nonetheless managed to double.
The trend of big-name live pros moving online due to casino closures has been evident since the series began.
The Main Event final table was a prime example of that, with 2017 WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein finishing as the runner-up. Third-place finisher Brian Altman is another beast, with two Circuit rings and $4.3 million in lifetime live tournament winnings to his name.
Gordon Vayo, of 2016 Main Event runner-up fame and PokerStars VPN lawsuit infamy, finished fourth. David Williams, with both a WSOP bracelet and a Circuit ring to his name, fell in sixth.
The appropriately named Champie Douglas won the event and its top prize of $130,410. Third place went to one Gage Doyan, a relatively unknown player who went on to win the Grand Finale and claim his first ring just two days later.
More familiar faces:
Everyone on that list will likely be on the grind during the upcoming Online Championships as well.
Here are the full results from the 2020 WSOP Online Super Circuit:
|Date||Time PST||#||Buy-in||Event||Guarantee||Prize Pool||Entries*|
|Mar. 14||4 PM||1||$320||Double Stack||$50,000||$171,000||570|
|Mar. 15||2 PM||2||$215||Monster Stack||$50,000||$188,200||941|
|Mar. 16||4 PM||3||$215||Deep Turbo||$50,000||$133,800||669|
|Mar. 17||4 PM||4||$1,000||High Roller (6-Max)||$75,000||$276,950||290|
|Mar. 18||4 PM||5||$215||NLHE||$50,000||$171,800||859|
|Mar. 19||4 PM||6||$320||NLHE||$50,000||$217,800||720|
|Mar. 20||4 PM||7||$215||PLO 6-Max||$30,000||$90,800||454|
|Mar. 21||4 PM||8||$320||Double Stack||$75,000||$247,800||826|
|Mar. 22||2 PM||9||$525||Monster Stack||$150,000||$318,000||636|
|Mar. 23||4 PM||10||$250||Freezeout||$30,000||$110,208||473|
|Mar. 24||4 PM||11||$500||BIG $500||$75,000||$247,976||531|
|Mar. 25||4 PM||12||$215||NLHE||$50,000||$168,800||844|
|Mar. 26||4 PM||13||$320||6-Max||$75,000||$201,900||673|
|Mar. 27||4 PM||14||$250||Turbo||$50,000||$149,459||636|
|Mar. 28||4 PM||15||$320||NLHE||$75,000||$219,300||731|
|Mar. 29||2 PM||16||$525||Main Event||$200,000||$567,000||1134|
|Mar. 30||4 PM||17||$300||Knockout||$30,000||$122,669||435|
|Mar. 31||4 PM||18||$1,000||Grand Finale HR||$75,000||$341,890||358|