One Circuit stop each month
With large-scale live poker tournaments still problematic because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Series of Poker has announced an expanded WSOP Online Circuit Series schedule. The first online festival, the Winter Online Super Circuit, kicks off Thursday, January 14 and will run through the end of the month.
Every stop on the Circuit will feature at least a dozen official ring events. Four festivals, including the one mentioned above, are dubbed “Super Circuits” and will have a total of 18 ring events. Some of the tournaments will co-brand with brick-and-mortar casinos, allowing players buy-in and cash out at the casino. Players from out of town will also get a special rate to stay at the property.
WSOP Online Circuit Championship
At the end of the Circuit season will be the $250,000 WSOP Online Circuit Championship, akin to the Global Casino Championship that is normally held live when there is no life-threatening pandemic. It is an invitation-only tournament with several ways to qualify: a) win a ring event during the 2021 season, b) win a $10,000 Player of the Month leaderboard, c) win a Second Chance Fast Forward tournament, and d) be in the top 50 points rankings if one doesn’t qualify one of the other three ways.
“Players deserve great tournaments and great value year-round, and that’s what we aim to do with the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director, in last week’s announcement. “We’ve been thrilled with the big prize pools for WSOP.COM events in 2020, and we only expect to see that grow with this new model.”
The Player of the Month leaderboard is exactly what it sounds like. Every player who participates in Circuit events can earn points based on how they finish. The top ten each month will win a share of $10,000 in tournament tickets and gain entry into the monthly $25,000 freeroll. Also in the freeroll will be those who won a gold ring that month.
All events will be held on WSOP.com, meaning only players located in Nevada and New Jersey can compete. As always, players just need to be in one of those states; they do not need to be residents.
Another state on the way?
In addition to the 12 monthly Circuit stops, the WSOP has one more planned for “pending launch of the WSOP.com service in a newly regulated market.”
This would imply that WSOP.com expects to go live in either Pennsylvania or Michigan this year, as those are the only two states with legalized online poker without a WSOP.com network presence (Delaware has three sites on the network, but are not technically WSOP.com). Pennsylvania would be obvious choice, as it already has its online poker industry up and running and only has one poker room (PokerStars). But it’s not quite a “newly” regulated market.
Michigan would be that newly regulated market, but the problem with that state as a guess is that most experts agree that online poker is still far in the distance. But perhaps the WSOP knows something and has intel that online poker will launch in the state this year.