Exclusive: WSOP Schedules Largest Ever Online Championships Despite Wire Act Concerns Exclusive: WSOP Schedules Largest Ever Online Championships Despite Wire Act Concerns

While all the attention may be on the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the organizers have quietly released the schedule of its signature online poker tournament series that will take place on its online poker client, WSOP.com.

WSOP Online Championships 2019 has been scheduled to kick off on June 1 and will run for over a month. The series will coincide with the ongoing 50th anniversary of the WSOP in Las Vegas to give players who have arrived in Nevada for the WSOP the opportunity to play a full tournament series online while they are there.

New Jersey Players Eligible to Participate for the First Two Weeks

New Jersey players will also be able to participate in the online series that are scheduled to run ahead of the Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement deadline on June 14.

Earlier this year, the DOJ reversed its opinion on the Wire Act restricting interstate online gambling. The latest opinion puts the WSOP USA network in jeopardy as it operates under the All American Poker Network (AAPN), the only interstate online poker network in the US, with players in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey sharing a common player pool.

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Despite concerns relating to the Wire Act, the WSOP Online Championships is set to be the biggest scheduled online tournament series in the history of the regulated US online poker market. With a total guaranteed prize pool of over $3.5 million across 133 action-packed tournaments, it is a marked increase in both overall series guarantee and number of events on last year’s tournament series.

In 2018, WSOP.com hosted its Online Championships series guaranteeing over $3 million in prize pools across 124 events. The series was 3.5 times larger than 2017 series when the total guaranteed was just $850,000. The confidence to run such a huge series was possible due to the advent of online shared liquidity between the three US states (Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey). However, that could all change with the reinterpretation of the Wire Act.

Highlights of the WSOP Online Championships 2019

The Online Championships festival features 133 tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $10 to $1000. As seen last year, there will be four tournaments each day of the series until the very end.

The majority of the schedule comprises of No Limit Hold’em freezeouts, knockouts, re-entry, rebuy & add-ons, as well as deepstacks, turbo, 6-max and a novelty format called ShowMe in which the winner of each hand must reveal their hole cards. However, the schedule is just limited to No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha formats as no other alternative formats like Stud and Omaha 8 made the cut.

There will be five $100,00 guaranteed tournaments on every Sunday and $85,000 guaranteed High Roller events every Tuesday throughout the series. The standout is the $300,000 guaranteed Player Appreciation tournament set to take place on June 9. The event buy-in is $525. A $100,000 guaranteed PLO High Roller will also be the part of the schedule. It will run on June 9 for a buy-in of $1000.

The average guarantee per tournament stands at $26,315—up from last year’s $24,377.

Online Bracelet Events Separate From the Online Championships Schedule

What is even more impressive about the schedule is that the online bracelet events that are part of the WSOP series are not included in the $3.5 million guaranteed Online Championships series.

This year, the WSOP announced that the golden jubilee edition will see a record nine online bracelet events—the same number of online bracelet events in the last four years combined. The WSOP organizers confirmed to pokerfuse that players in New Jersey will be allowed to participate in the first two of nine online bracelet events scheduled to take place before the looming deadline of June 14.

Buy-ins for these online bracelet events range from $400 to $3200. However, none of these events carry guarantees in what appears to be a cautionary move by the organizers.

The first WSOP online bracelet event is scheduled to take place on June 2. It comes at a buy-in of $400.

Last year, WSOP’s online bracelet events drew a record turnout with over 6000 total entries. Three of the four online bracelet events carried guaranteed prize pools with each of them smashing their guarantees by almost 50%. Over $4.5 million was paid out across these events. The first of the four online bracelet events (Event #10 – $365 NLHE) attracted 2972 total entries, making it the largest field ever for a WSOP online bracelet event.

The $1000 buy-in Online Championship event created a record-setting tournament prize pool of over $1.55 million—the biggest ever in US-regulated online poker history.

If the new Wire Act opinion is upheld, shared liquidity in online poker in the US could come to an end and hamper the participation field in online bracelet events.