The inaugural WSOP.com Online Circuit event awarded its 13th and final gold ring this past weekend. The tournament series shattered its guarantees and brought excitement to online tournament poker that hasn’t been seen in quite some time.
Bill Rini, Head of Online Poker for Caesars Interactive Entertainment, commented via email to PlayNevada on the tournament’s success:
“We were actually quite surprised at how well the event performed. We were aware that a lot of players wanted something like this on the schedule but we were truly blown away at the draw.”
It has been nearly three months since the world’s best poker players left the Nevada desert to return to the daily grind. The last time WSOP.com awarded some gold trophies was during the World Series of Poker when it handed out four gold bracelets to online poker players in Nevada and New Jersey.
WSOP.com Online Circuit a smashing success
At a time when online poker is taking a back seat to mobile sports betting, its great to see poker players turn out for a big tournament series.
For two weeks, players flocked to the virtual felt to fight for one of 13 gold rings. The series boasted nearly $700,000 in guarantees. It is apparent players missed playing under the WSOP banners because every event not only surpassed its guarantee but smashed it.
“We thought our guarantees were fairly in-line,” said Rini. “But when every event is doubling or tripling the guarantee, it shows we underestimated the demand.”
Online poker has been struggling of late. There was hope that the launch of shared liquidity would give the industry a much-needed boost. It didn’t.
WSOP.com, as the only operator in all three states (Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware), definitely reaped what little rewards there were. Even so, after the WSOP closed up shop, it was losing players and traffic at an alarming rate.
It must be a huge relief to both the online poker room and to the players to see a big event take center stage. It didn’t hurt that some coveted hardware and a few tickets to the Global Casino Championship were up for grabs.
Two tickets to WSOP Global Casino Championship up for grabs
One of the biggest draws of the tournament series was the two seats to the WSOP Global Casino Championship. One seat was awarded to the winner of the Main Event and the other for the best performance of the series.
The first ticket went to Shawn “SayGoodNight” Daniels emerged victorious in the $525 buy-in Main Event. He pocketed $83,545 for collecting all the chips. The tournament registered 439 players and 243 rebuys. The prize pool ended up at $341,000, almost double the guarantee.
The second ticket wound up in the hands of Ryan “Adopt_aDogg0” Leng. His performance during the 13 events found him at three final tables and logging six cashes. He took home a total of $113,199 to secure his seat at next year’s Championship.
The success of the tournament bodes well for the future of big WSOP online events. Rini commented on the likelihood of another online event:
“We’re looking at the schedule and seeing what’s appropriate, but it certainly seems like the demand is there to add one or more to the calendar each year.”
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