This article was originally published on PokerIndustryPRO.com

The US leg of the 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) online bracelet series, spanning New Jersey and Nevada, concluded last week. It can be considered a huge success, with high turnouts throughout the month-long series.

An unprecedented prize pool of $26,871,265 was generated across 31 bracelet events, with an average of just over $865,000 per tournament. It is by far the largest series ever held in the regulated US markets—particularly impressive considering that none of them featured any guarantees.

It shows the WSOP brand and bracelet cachet maintains its unparalleled appeal, even when played out entirely on the virtual felt.

Indeed, the series smashed multiple records, including breaking WSOP’s own record for the biggest prize pool in US regulated market history, as well as setting various records for largest fields for WSOP online bracelet events.

Six out of 31 events produced seven-figure prize pools—the most ever in any single online bracelet series. A few more came very close.

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The $1000 NLH Online Championships event—now in its fifth year as part of the summer series on WSOP.com—drew 2126 total entries, becoming the first online event to generate a prize pool over $2 million. It represents impressive 21% growth over last year.

Top Five Largest WSOP Online Bracelet Events by Prize Pool

Year Event Prize Pool Total Entries Buy-in
2020 #31 NLHE Championship $2,019,700 2126 $1,000
2019 #74 NLHE High Roller $1,802,720 593 $3,200
2019 #68 NLHE Championship $1,662,500 1750 $1,000
2018 #61 NLHE Championship $1,553,250 1635 $1,000
2020 #14 NLHE High Roller $1,507,840 496 $3,200

Event #19, a $400 buy-in NLH, attracted the biggest turnout in the series and third-biggest in WSOP.com online bracelet history, dragging in 2545 total entries (1757 unique and 788 re-entries) to build a prize pool of $916,200.

The $3200 buy-in High Roller event and the most expensive event, drew close to 500 runners for a total prize pool of $1.5 million—the second largest of the series.

Top Five Largest WSOP Online Bracelet Events by Entries

Year Event Total Entries Prize Pool Buy-in
2018 #10 NLHE 2972 $974,816 $365
2019 #7 NLHE 2825 $1,017,000 $400
2020 #19 NLHE 2545 $916,200 $400
2017 #8 NLHE 2509 $752,700 $333
2020 #12 NLHE The BIG 500 2427 $1,092,150 $500

The debut events—Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and a Senior’s event—all drew a decent crowd, but each of them amassed prize pools less than $500,000. That is not surprising given their niche appeal, and they proved to be the only events not to cross the half-million dollar mark.

The series as a whole generated 44,000 entries and nearly 15% of that turnout—6582—shared the $26.8 million in prize money. More than $4.7 million was awarded in first-place prizes. The operator netted $2.3 million in tournament fees.

WSOP 2020 Online Bracelet Events Stats

  • Bracelet Events Ran – 31
  • Total Prize Pool Generated – $26,871,265
  • Avg Prize Pool – $866,815
  • Avg Buy-in – $802
  • Biggest Prize Pool – $2,019,700 (July 31 – Event #31 NLH Championship $1000 Buy-in)
  • No. of Events with $1 Million Prize Pools – 6 (Events #10, #12, #14, #26, #29, #31)
  • Total First-Place Prizes – $4,718,447
  • Average First-Place Prize – $152,208
  • Total Entries – 44,179
  • Avg Entries – 1425
  • Total Places Paid – 6582 (excluding knockouts)
  • Biggest Turnout – 2545 (July 19 – Event #19 NLH $400 Buy-in)
  • Total Rake Collected – $2,325,746

Online bracelet events on WSOP.com have been running since 2015 but the $26.8 million prize pool this year is more than all previous WSOP online bracelet events combined. This was speculated by PRO in the first week of the series.

Last year, nearly $10 million was generated across nine bracelet events, averaging over $1 million per event. Five of them exceeded seven-figure prize pools and the series drew 14,127 entries.

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WSOP Online Bracelet Event History

Year Events Total Prizepool Awarded Avg Prizepool per Event Total Entries Avg Entries Avg Buy-in
2015 1 $859,750 $859,750 905 905 $1,000
2016 1 $1,184,650 $1,184,650 1247 1247 $1,000
2017 3 $3,334,700 $1,111,566 4245 1415 $1,555
2018 4 $4,623,226 $1,115,806 6310 1577.5 $1,283
2019 9 $9,880,110 $1,097,790 14,127 1570 $956
2020 31 $26,871,265 $866,815 44,179 1425 $802

While on the first impression it appears that participation is down on last year, circumstances were obviously different.

Firstly, a majority of the online bracelet events held last year took place on Sundays; this year, they were scheduled to run every day throughout the month.

Secondly, the operator made a cut to the number of re-entries from 3 to 2 in most events, and half a dozen of them were freezeouts. Thirdly, the average buy-in was down from $956 to $802 this year.

But the biggest factor was the lack of supporting live summer series. This year, for the first time in its half-century history, the WSOP live series had to be postponed until the fall due to the coronavirus crisis.

The live series would attract thousands of players to Las Vegas from all over the world who would then go on to play online events alongside live events while visiting.

With travel restrictions coupled with no accompanying live series, and that online bracelet events being limited to just players located in two states, the participation would naturally be impacted.

Despite all of the above factors, the $1k Online Championships attracted enough to not only make it the largest tournament by prize pool in the history of WSOP online bracelet events in the US but also the biggest anywhere in the US regulated markets.

WSOP $1K Buy-in Online Bracelet Event History

Year Guarantee Rebuy? Live FT? Open in NJ? Prize Pool Entries
2015 - No Yes No $859,750 905
2016 - Yes Yes No $1,184,650 1247
2017 - Yes No No $1,246,400 1312
2018 $1M Yes No Yes $1,553,250 1635
2019 - Yes No Yes $1,662,500 1750
2020 - Yes No Yes $2,019,700 2126

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Over on GGPoker, where the WSOP online bracelet series is being held for international players, over $40 million in prize money has been generated and more than a dozen bracelets have been awarded.

A total of 54 bracelets are being given away across the series. The best is certainly yet to come: the $5000 buy-in WSOP Main Event boasting a $25 million prize pool—the biggest ever in online poker history—is one of many highlights still on the schedule.

GG WSOP 2020 continues to run on GGPoker until September 6.

Meanwhile, without a moment’s pause, WSOP.com is running yet another tournament series: WSOP Summer Series guarantees more than $3 million in prize money, including a $200,000-guaranteed Main Event. It kicked off on August 2 and runs through August 23.