The international leg of the 2021 WSOP Online on GGPoker has entered its final stretch.
There are a few more bracelet-awarding events remaining as the series is coming to its conclusion, but the $20,000,000 guaranteed Main Event has been completed and, somewhat surprisingly, it failed to meet expectations.
Back in 2020, GGPoker grabbed the opportunity to host the first-*ever World Series of Poker to take place completely in an online environment*. With most live action coming to a stop, online poker was booming, so they went all out with the $25 million guaranteed Main Event. That guarantee was easily shattered.
For 2021, the room decided to go for a somewhat more conservative but still impressive guarantee of $20 million. One might assume it would easily meet it.
However, by the time the registration was completed, the 2021 WSOP Online Main Event fell short of its guarantee by over $500,000.
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Solid Turnout—But Below Expectations
The Main Event featured the buy-in of $5000, which is definitely quite high by online standards. In 2020, the tournament did see a record-breaking turnout of 5802 entries, but this was in the middle of coronavirus lockdowns all over the world, which caused online poker numbers to skyrocket.
GGPoker scheduled 24 starting flights for the highlight event—however, players were capped to entering three times max. As the clock ticked down, it was becoming apparent there would not be enough players to meet the guarantee.
In fact, it was looking like the overlay could be over a million.
In an attempt to save the day, the room introduced three more starting flights, bringing the total number to 27. This did help to reduce the damage, but not to completely get rid of the overlay.
By the time the second day kicked off, the total number of entries climbed to 4092, a 29% drop-off compared to 2020. The total accumulated prize pool stood at $19,437,000, resulting in a $563,000 overlay.
It was great news for those in the tournament for sure, but not as much for GGPoker as they had to cover the difference out of their own pocket.
A Small Bump on a Great Journey
Looking at the Main Event in isolation, one could think that the 2021 WSOP Online was a failure for GGPoker, but this is far from being true.
In fact, the Main Event was the only tournament on a big schedule to feature a significant overlay. Most other events, including the $25,000 Super High Roller, easily met and broke their guarantees.
The room made well over $4,000,000 in rake and admin fees, so while covering the difference for the Main Event is probably not what they were hoping for, it is definitely not a disaster in any way.
With a few more events remaining on the schedule, including the $210 WSOP Bounty Double and $500 The Closer, both featuring $2,000,000 prize pools, the series is on pace to exceed $90 million in prize money, which is certainly an impressive number.
Going back to the Main Event, the fact that it failed to meet the guarantee did not come as that big of a surprise to those in the know.
GGPoker released their 2021 WSOP schedule fairly late and did not leave enough time for the players to qualify via satellites. Meeting the $20,000,000 guarantee was always going to be a stretch, but the operator managed to come fairly close to meeting the goal.
All things considered, there is no reason to think the room will be in any way discouraged by this year’s series results and we could certainly expect to see a similar schedule next year.