Hybrid WSOP Main Event Attracts 705 US Poker Players, Monday Will Determine American Final 9

Posted on: December 14, 2020, 11:55h. 

Last updated on: December 14, 2020, 04:03h.

A field of 71 remains when play in the World Series of Poker’s US Main Event resumes Monday afternoon.

WSOP Upeshka De Silva
Upeshka De Silva, seen here celebrating his victory in the Houston Poker Live’s no-limit hold ’em tournament in February, leads after the first day of the World Series of Poker’s 2020 Main Event. (Image: WPT/Twitter)

The no-limit hold ’em Main Event was held in a hybrid format this year because of the coronavirus. It attracted 705 participants for the start of online play on Sunday. In just 12 hours, 90 percent of the field saw their chances for a coveted bracelet and a nearly $1.6 million payday disappear.

Monday’s play determines the nine finalists. They will advance to the face-to-face final table at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Dec. 28. The US winner is slated to play the international winner heads-up for an additional $1 million prize on Dec. 30.

According to WSOP, the nearly $6.8 million prize pool is more than three times larger than the previous record for an online tournament. The WSOP Online Championship in July generated a pool of just more than $2 million.

Combined with the international pool, 1,379 players ponied up $10,000 to take part in the World Series event. The top two finishers in both the US and global fields will win at least $1 million.

“I think, considering the circumstances, 1,379 players is a strong field size that can stand up to the history of the event,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP executive director in a statement. “It’s also an important milestone for regulated online poker. Can’t wait to see who will win this world championship bracelet.”

According to tourney organizers, no online tournament ever had a $1 million winner, much less four.

The 705 American tournament entrants could only compete in either Nevada or New Jersey because of US gaming laws. WSOP did not give a breakdown of players competing by state.

De Silva Chip Leader After Day One

When play resumes at noon PT Monday, Upeshka De Silva will start as the chip leader with 1.9 million. De Silva has won WSOP bracelets before, but never the Main Event.

With 705 entrants in the US pool, tournament officials set the cutline for payouts at the top 107 players. Unfortunately for Adrian Buckley, a bad beat led him to become the last player to leave without a check.

Buckley held pocket queens and moved all-in with his 154,716 against Ron Jenkins, who held ace-king offsuit.

The flop produced three sevens, giving Buckley a full house. However, another seven appeared on the turn. That gave both players four sevens, but Jenkins’ ace served as the kicker. That left Buckley missing out on the $14,890 that the 107th finisher received.

Jenkins currently sits third in chip count with $1.5 million. Others who had a short stay included Daniel Negreanu, who got $14,890 for his 92nd place finish, and Mike Matusow, who finished out of the money.

International Main Event Final Table Set for Tuesday

While the US online portion is slated to end on Monday, the international WSOP Main Event tourney resumes when the finalists convene at the King’s Resort Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, near the German border. The main event is sponsored by GGPoker.

Brunno Botteon of Brazil holds a solid lead in the chip count with 10.3 million. He holds a lead over second-place Manuel Ruivo of Portugal by more than 4 million chips.

Others slated to play Tuesday are Damian Salas of Argentina, Hannes Sepiser of Austria, Dominykas Mikolaitis of Lithuania, Ramon Miquel Munoz of Spain, Peiyuan Sun of China, Stoyan Obreshkov of Bulgaria, and a player known by his GGPoker handle “fullbabyfull,” representing Liechtenstein.