When the World Series of Poker schedule was announced last month, online tournaments were conspicuously absent among the 80 gold bracelet events for the 2019 WSOP.
Series organizers were ostensibly waiting for clarity regarding the recent Wire Act opinion issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), one which renews a federal ban on interstate online gambling.
But fans of the virtual felt received good news last week, when the World Series of Poker announced the addition of nine online bracelet events to the 2019 WSOP schedule.
That selection more than doubles last year’s count of four online tournaments hosted by WSOP.com, which began participating in poker’s premier series back in 2015.
In a press release, Bill Rini – who serves as head of online poker for WSOP.com – offered the following outline of this year’s online offerings:
“Just like the land-based WSOP, the annual summer series is also the best time for online poker players in the U.S. to chase big prize pools and WSOP gold bracelets.
WSOP.com is offering a consistent gold bracelet schedule this year, plus non-stop satellites to both the online and live events, giving players the best opportunity to participate in the 50th Annual WSOP.”
As part of that consistency Rini alluded to, WSOP.com will run one-day online bracelet events each and every Sunday during this year’s summer festival – which runs from May 28 through July 14. Along with the Sunday slate, WSOP.com will also host a pair of online bracelet events on Wednesdays, as shown in the table below:
2019 WSOP Online Bracelet Event Schedule
|June 2||No-Limit Hold’em||$400||15000|
|June 9||Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha||$600||15000|
|June 16||Knock-Out Bounty No-Limit Hold’em||$600||20000|
|June 19||Turbo No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack||$500||40000|
|June 23||Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em||$1000||30000|
|June 30||No-Limit Hold’em Championship||$1000||15000|
|July 3||High Roller No-Limit Hold’em||$3200||25000|
|July 7||6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em||$800||15000|
|July 14||Summer Saver No-Limit Hold’em||$500||20000|
Aligning with the WSOP’s decision to make bracelet event buy-ins more affordable, five of the nine online tournaments will cost $600 or less.
For players with larger bankrolls, two $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em events take place on June 23 and June 30, followed by the $3,200 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller on July 3.
And after last year’s successful debut of an online Pot Limit Omaha event – the first WSOP tournament won by a player located in New Jersey – a $600 version will be held on June 9.
Each of the No Limit Hold’em events – except for the $600 Knock-Out Bounty – offers up to three re-entries, while the Pot Limit Omaha can be re-entered on an unlimited basis throughout the early levels.
With the DOJ expected to begin prosecution of iGaming operators in violation of its new Wire Act opinion after May 14, the 2019 WSOP is playing its cards close to the vest.
Last summer saw WSOP.com integrate its player pools in Nevada and New Jersey for the first time, but that interstate compact is now illegal under the DOJ’s latest interpretation of the Wire Act.
While the state government in New Jersey mulls its legal options in challenging the DOJ, the WSOP is taking a cautious approach to the interstate iGaming issue.
Based on the following caveat included in the press release, online bracelet events can only be accessed from “eligible” states – a status which remains ambiguous until the Wire Act’s scope is fully clarified:
“Players must be physically inside the borders of an eligible state at the time of the tournament. Eligibility for New Jersey players in WSOP.com online gold bracelet events has yet to be determined.”