As the 47th annual World Series of Poker kicks off – beginning with Event #1 ($565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em) on June 1 – poker’s preeminent live tournament event is set to incorporate an unprecedented level of online play.
The third edition of the WSOP since legalized online poker returned to the state of Nevada in 2013 features full integration with WSOP.com – the lone survivor among major online poker platforms within the jurisdiction.
For the first time since the glory days before government intervention scuttled the online poker industry in 2011, players hoping to parlay a small sum into a WSOP tournament seat can enjoy access to a full menu of qualifiers and satellites. Branded as the “Road to the WSOP,” the comprehensive slate of online qualifiers offers several low buy-in qualifiers every day – ranging from $5 to $200 – while granting access to nearly half of the bracelet events on the schedule.
Players competing on WSOP.com can win their way into specialty tournaments like Event #2 ($565 Colossus II NLHE), Event #14 ($1,500 Millionaire Maker NLHE), and Event #41 ($1,500 Monster Stack), but the selection of satellites isn’t limited to tournaments holding mass appeal. Niche tournaments like Event #27 ($1,000 Seniors Championship NLHE) and Event #65 ($1,000 Ladies Championship NLHE) are now accessible via online qualifiers, along with several standard NLHE bracelet events, plus a few variants like Six-Handed NLHE, Pot-Limit Omaha, and Shootout NLHE.
If playing in the $10,000 Main Event is your dream, but ponying up five figures simply isn’t in the cards, WSOP.com is running $200 satellite events every Saturday from now until July 2. Even better for low-rollers is the 25-seat Scramble scheduled for July 9, which costs $200 to enter but can be accessed by winning a smaller satellite event for just $10.
In addition to the generous helping of online qualifiers, the 2016 WSOP also sees the return of the first ever bracelet event played out over the internet, following last year’s successful debut. The buy-in for Event #66 (Online Bracelet NLHE) is affordable by WSOP standards, with a $1,000 price point, but of course, satellite events starting at just $10 are running around the clock on WSOP.com.
This year’s Online Bracelet event will be played through to completion entirely online, representing a shift in philosophy from last year, after the final table was played out live at the “Mothership” final table stage. A total of 905 players competed in the first online bracelet event, and tournament organizers are confident that the mark will be topped now that the concept has proven to be effective.
Looking for another way to combine online play with live action, the 2016 WSOP will debut a hybrid tournament which encourages players to hit WSOP.com beforehand in order to maximize their chip stacks.
Event #4 ($1,000 Top Up Turbo NLHE) gives players a starting stack of 5,000 chips to work with – but that can be doubled to 10,000 chips by placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a $55 sit-and-go tournament on WSOP.com. With so much equity on the line for just $55, it’s very likely that an overwhelming majority of players in the Top Up Turbo event will take their shot at doubling their chip stack through the online platform.