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This week, the World Series of Poker unveiled full details for one component of this year’s series. Online bracelet events for US players will run daily throughout July, and now we have all the specifics.
The series begins on July 1 with The Big 500 Kick-Off. It concludes on Aug. 1 with the $1 million guaranteed Grand Finale, which likewise comes with a $500 price tag.
That makes for a total of 33 events, factoring in the Double Bracelet Day on July 25. Buy-ins start at $333 and run up to a maximum of $7,777.
Last year was the first time WSOP hosted a standalone online bracelet series. That was due to the postponement (and ultimately, cancellation) of the main series due to COVID-19. Its 31 events smashed all sorts of US records, and this year’s may well do better still, with a slightly larger schedule and more advance planning. The million-dollar guarantee on the Grand Final is itself a first for the legal US online poker market.
Unfortunately, this year’s series will only be available to players physically located in New Jersey and Nevada. Although Michigan is working on joining those states for shared poker traffic, it will likely take until the end of the year. With luck, it and perhaps Pennsylvania will be able to join WSOP’s All American Poker Network before the 2022 series.
The full schedule for the 2021 US online bracelet events is available at the bottom of this article.
This year’s main series is once again postponed until fall. Hopefully, it will actually happen this time around. WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart’s described those plans, and the role of the online series, as follows:
“Poker deserves a big finish to 2021 and we’re looking to heat things up this summer. We expect to offer great value tournaments as well as comprehensive satellites to qualify for Las Vegas in the Fall.”
Assuming the live events do in fact take place, this will be a year unlike any other for the WSOP. The number of online bracelets has increased every year since the first one was awarded in 2015. However, there was never a standalone series of such bracelets until last year, and this will be the first time that WSOP hosts both a live and an online series in the same year.
The live events should begin on Sep. 30 and run through Nov. 23. There’s no word so far about whether these will also be interspersed with online bracelet events, as they would be in a normal year.
There is, however, a separate series of online WSOP Circuit ring events running throughout the year.
Furthermore, WSOP has now confirmed that there will be a separate online bracelet series for international players. Last year, this was hosted by GGPoker and its Main Event produced the biggest prize pool in online poker history. It’s not clear if WSOP will go with GGPoker again this year, but it promises that “news regarding the partnership and dates for the international component” will be available in a matter of weeks.
One interesting aspect of the schedule is that it’s divided into a series of distinct phases. Three are what WSOP calls theme weeks, with some shorter blocks of events in between.
This is a different approach than the company normally takes with its schedules for the live series. There, it typically tries to spread marquee events throughout the series and avoid having too many similar events in a block.
However, it’s the same goal underlying the different approaches, which is to make it as easy as possible for players to participate in every event which interests them. For the live series, that means avoiding overlap between similar events.
Online, however, the events are shorter, and for the most part there is only one starting each day. Since players have to be in New Jersey or Nevada to participate, we can anticipate that some will be traveling to play. Not every traveling player will want to attend the entire series however. By stringing similar events together, WSOP makes it easy to pack more of them into a short trip.
Here’s how the series breaks down:
The series opens with what are sure to be crowd pleaser events. These eight tournaments mostly have buy-ins in the $500 to $1000 range, save for one $2000 event. They’re all No-Limit Hold’em, and several offer deep stacks and/or a fast structure.
Following Premiere Week is a series of three events featuring the lowest buy-ins on the schedule. The cheapest of these, Event #10, costs just $333 to enter, while the other two have a $400 buy-in.
Event #11 has “ultra deep” starting stacks. It should therefore offer the best value on the schedule in terms of expected play time for your dollar if it’s fun you’re after.
PLO Week is a bit of a misnomer on both counts. For one thing, it’s ten days long. For another, only three of ten events are actually Pot-Limit Omaha. The remainder are all No-Limit Hold’em.
It is true, however that most of the PLO events on the schedule fall into this middle portion of the series. All have sub-$1000 buy-ins, but some of the series’ pricier NLHE events fall alongside them. The most expensive of these is the $5,300 High Roller Freezeout.
WSOP has no special name for these three events, which is why we call them “forgotten.” They consist of a knockout, a turbo and a monster stack, all with buy-ins between $400 and $600.
As the name suggests, July 25 is special because it’s the only day with two events. That’s presumably because only a very few players will be in the market for the $7,777 Lucky 7’s High Roller. For everyone else, there’s a reprise of the Big 500, using the same format as the series opener.
Naturally, the series will finish with a bang. Most players will consider the true Championship to be the full ring NLHE event on July 31. However, there are also additional Championships for the following formats:
There are also two events during the final week that don’t have the “Championship” designation: the $500 Summer Saver, and the aforementioned $500 Grand Finale with its seven-figure guarantee.
|Premiere Week||July 1||$500||The Big 500 Kick-Off|
|July 3||$500||Turbo Deepstack|
|July 4||$500||Super Turbo|
|July 7||$777||Lucky 7's|
|July 8||$888||Crazy Eights|
|Micro Madness||July 9||$400||6-Max|
|July 10||$333||(generic NLHE)|
|July 11||$400||Ultra Deepstack|
|PLO Week||July 12||$500||Turbo Deepstack|
|July 14||$500||(generic NLHE)|
|July 15||$5,300||High Roller Freezeout|
|July 16||$600||PLO 6-Max|
|July 18||$1,000||North American Open|
|July 19||$888||PLO Crazy Eights - 8-Max|
|July 20||$3,200||High Roller|
|July 21||$600||PLO 6-Max|
|(nameless phase)||July 22||$600||Knockout|
|Double Bracelet Day||July 25 (a)||$7,777||Lucky 7's High Roller|
|July 25 (b)||$500||The Big 500 Encore|
|Championship Week||July 26||$1,000||PLO Championship|
|July 27||$3,200||High Roller Championship|
|July 28||$800||8-Max Turbo Deep Champ.|
|July 29||$600||6-Max Championship|
|July 30||$500||Summer Saver|
|Aug. 1||$500||Grand Finale ($1M GTD)|