A guarantee on a World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament is somewhat atypical, but then WSOP 2021 is anything but typical.
In fact, there is only one tournament in this year’s festival that has a guarantee—and it was a whopper. Event #4: The Reunion had a huge $5 million guarantee on the $500 buy-in event, but in the end, it smashed the guarantee by almost 10%.
The 2021 WSOP is unusual in a lot of ways. It is running at an unusual time of year, and it is running at the tail end of the worst pandemic in modern times. It was always a bit of an open question how the 2021 Series would be received, but the turnout for The Reunion will go some way toward answering any questions.
The game needed almost 12,000 entries to make it to the $5 million guarantee across its three Day 1 flights. By the time late registration closed, there were more than a 1,000 extra entries, bringing the final prize pool to almost $5.5 million.
That was 8.9% higher than the promised prizes, and was especially impressive that it came from an event costing just $500 to get into. It put more than $500,000 up top for the win.
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Everyone Loves a Reunion
The WSOP would surely have been looking for an early success in the 2021 Series, given the uncertainty surrounding it. It looks like the operator found that success with The Reunion tournament.
Admittedly, a $500 live tournament with $5 million guaranteed near the beginning of the series was likely designed to attract attention and draw a crowd. That the game actually drew the required numbers in such an uncertain year will certainly make the organizers breathe a little easier going forward with the rest of the series.
The game’s three starting days ran on October 2 and October 3, with two Day 1s running on the second day. By the time registration closed on Day 1c, there were 12,973 entries in the game, enough to build a prize pool of $5,448,660 with a top prize of $513,604.
Kevin Mathers, also know by his Twitter handle Kevmath, tweeted out the good news when they broke the guarantee and the official WSOP Twitter added their own flourish when registration closed.
The Joys of the Game
One of the interesting things about The Reunion was the accessibility. At $500 to buy into, it is one of the smallest buy-ins on the schedule this year, and as such, is open to players of all bankrolls.
It was also a great tournament for a player to dip their toes into the WSOP pool for the first time, and at least one player did just that. What makes that interesting is that his reaction to making the money with a short stack is a reminder of why the game is so popular.
Kenna James, no stranger to cashing WSOP events, captured and posted the moment one of the players in The Reunion cashed in his first WSOP event, and the emotion shows just how the game gets under a players skin.
This year’s WSOP is one of the most unusual series in history, and there is no question the organizers wanted to see some early successes. Breaking a $5 million guarantee on a $500 event must have helped soothe any anxiety the organizers might have had going into the series, and it bodes well for the turnout this year going forward.