It’s a new year, although poker tournament organizers continue to confront the same challenges they faced during most of 2020.
As a means to meet those challenges, the World Series of Poker this week announced a new WSOP Online Circuit Series that will last throughout 2021.
Patterned after the live WSOP Circuit of past years, the online series will feature monthly 12- or 18-tournament series in which winners will receive WSOP-C gold rings.
The 2021 WSOP Online Circuit will culminate with the $250,000 WSOP Online Circuit Championship in December, which will award a WSOP gold bracelet to the winner.
Monthly online series similar in format to earlier live WSOP-C stops
A press release on Wednesday from the WSOP noted how “live poker remains a challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” thus prompting the decision to create an expanded online series.
During 2020, the WSOP was able to stage a handful of live tournament series early in the year, including one in February at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. However, from mid-March onward, all live WSOP-C events were cancelled and replaced by several online series on WSOP.com.
For the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series, tournaments will only be open to those playing on the WSOP Nevada and WSOP New Jersey sites.
There will be 12 WSOP-C tournament series in 2021, one per month. In most cases, the series schedule will contain 12 tournaments, similar to the schedule used in the past at live WSOP-C series stops. Roughly once per quarter will come an expanded “Super Circuit” series with 18 tournaments.
The Super Circuit series will include both $1,000 and $2,000 high roller events and a $500 pot-limit Omaha event.
Extra tournament in the cards?
The announcement notes that a 13th tournament series might be added to the schedule at a later date “pending launch of the WSOP.com service in a newly regulated market.”
WSOP.com received regulatory approval to launch in Pennsylvania last year, and has indicated the new site will go live in 2021. There has been no announcement regarding whether or not the new WSOP PA player pool might be shared with those at other WSOP sites as part of a multi-state agreement, either initially or in the future.
As noted, winners of each tournament will receive a WSOP Circuit ring along with first-place prize money. In addition, the WSOP will be adding over $600,000 in prize money over the course of the year via “a variety of promotions and events.”
Casino branding, leaderboard and freerolls with added prize money
For the first time, some of the online tournament series will be “co-branded” via partnerships with various retail casinos.
Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Paris Las Vegas and Harrah’s Las Vegas are among the Nevada properties that will be represented. Such tournaments will feature “‘cash at the cage’ buy-in and cash out availability while offering its out-of-market players special promotional rates to stay onsite” while they play.
There will be a 2021 WSOP Circuit Series Leaderboard as well, with all players who cash in events receiving points for their finishes.
The points will enable players to become eligible for freeroll events. They also will help players win their way into the year-ending $250,000 WSOP Online Circuit Championship (discussed below).
Also, the top 10 players each month will divide $10,000 worth of tournament tickets. Those 10 players will also win seats to play in that month’s $25,000 Monthly Freeroll where only that month’s event winners and top 10 points-getters will participate.
The $25,000 Monthly Freerolls are scheduled for the following dates:
- Feb. 2
- Mar. 2
- Apr. 1
- Apr. 29
- May 27
- Jun. 29
- Jul. 29
- Sep. 28
- Oct. 28
- Nov. 23
- Dec. 21
Players who play in a minimum number of tournaments each series who have not otherwise won their way into the Championship will be able to play another freeroll event, the Monthly Second Chance Fast Forward. That will be a winner-take-all tournament with first-prize being a seat in the Championship.
WSOP bracelet awaits $250K Championship winner
The $250,000 WSOP Online Circuit Championship will take place Dec. 21, 2021. Players can become eligible in a variety of ways:
- Winning any 2021 WSOP Online Circuit gold ring event
- Finishing with the most points in a given month to win Player of the Month
- Winning a Monthly Second Chance Fast Forward freeroll
- Finishing as one of the top 50 players on cumulative 2021 WSOP Circuit Series Leaderboard (if not already eligible)
The Championship will be limited to a maximum of 256 entrants.
2021 World Series of Poker Online Circuit Series Schedule
|Winter Online Super Circuit||Jan. 14-31||18|
|Planet Hollywood Circuit||Feb. 17-28||12|
|Silver Legacy Circuit||Mar. 19-30||12|
|Spring Online Super Circuit||Apr. 10-27||18|
|Caesars Atlantic City Super Circuit||May 8-25||12|
|Summer Online Super Circuit||Jun. 10-27||18|
|Bally's Online Circuit||Jul. 16-27||12|
|Rio Online Circuit||Aug. 20-31||12|
|Caesars Las Vegas Online Circuit||Sep. 15-26||12|
|Fall Online Super Circuit||Oct. 9-26||18|
|Paris Las Vegas Online Circuit||Nov. 10-21||12|
|Harrah's Las Vegas Online Circuit||Dec. 8-19||12|
|$250,000 Year End Championship Event||Dec. 28||bracelet event|