ONLINE BLING BATTLE: $10,000 WSOP Main Event Kicks Off Sunday

Sean Chaffin December 10, 2020
The WSOP Main Event kicks off on Sunday at WSOP.com.

A big Sunday is ahead for American online poker players looking to get in the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event. The series announced in early November that the tournament would take place mostly on WSOP.com and GGPoker.

The final table is now set in the international half of the Main Event. Players in New Jersey and Nevada now have their shot at WSOP.com.

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What to expect from the WSOP.com half of the Main Event

Players jumping in the action on Sunday will find some of what they might expect from the live Main Event. The buy-in is indeed $10,000, although satellites have also been underway.

The tournament will also remain in a freezeout format with some of the longest levels in (online) tournament poker. Of course, the game is also No Limit Texas Hold’em.

The ultimate winner also takes home a nice payout and the coveted championship gold bracelet.

Much of the similarity stops there. This year will see the great majority of the tournament played out online. Sunday brings Day 1 with the second day of action on Monday.

Day 2 will play down to the final nine players. Those will then play at a live final table on Dec. 28 at the Rio in Las Vegas. The international final table will be played on Dec. 15 at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic.

Both the international and US final tables will be filmed for broadcast by ESPN. The two properties will pay out winners in each tournament separately.

The winners of each half will then meet up at the Rio on Dec. 30. Caesars and GGPoker are putting up $1 million for a heads-up, winner-take-all battle, also filmed by ESPN.

Final table set in the GGPoker international half of Main Event

Much of the play in the international half of the event has already wrapped up at GGPoker. The final nine players are set with Brazil’s Brunno Botteon returning as chip leader.

Botteon is no stranger to GGPoker World Series success. In this summer WSOP Online, he notched several big scores including:

  • Runner-up – $500 Limit Hold’em for $41,855
  • Sixth place – $25,000 Poker Players Championship for $388,837
  • Runner-up – $25,000 NLHE Heads-Up for $622,300

Following him in second and third are Portugal’s Manuel Ruivo and Argentina’s Damian Salas. Ruivo has $745,000 in live tournament winnings.

He’s also found nice success online, winning the $5,300 partypoker MILLIONS Online in 2018 for $2.3 million.

Salas has $2.7 million in live tournament winnings and is no stranger to WSOP fans. He’s already had one ESPN appearance, taking seventh in the Main Event in 2017 for $1.4 million. Here’s a look at the complete international final table:

GGPoker WSOP Main Event Final Table 2020

Position Player Country Chips
1st Brunno Botteon Brazil 10,317,743
2nd Manuel Ruivo Portugal 6,213,759
3rd Damian Salas Argentina 5,653,528
4th “fullbabyfull” Liechtenstein 4,232,560
5th Hannes Speiser Austria 3,515,744
6th Dominykas Mikolaitis Lithuania 3,165,440
7th Ramon Miquel Munoz Spain 3,035,940
8th Peiyuan Sun China 2,185,676
9th Stoyan Obreshkov Bulgaria 2,119,610

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Mixed reaction to an online Main Event

The announcement that much of the Main Event would be moved online has drawn some criticism. Some think it’s a radical departure from the traditional event and should just be played in 2021 if possible.

Others argue that the winner of the $5,000 Main Event in the GGPoker WSOP Online this summer should be this year’s champion.

Bulgaria’s Stoyan Madanzhiev won that tournament, which attracted 5,802 players, for his first bracelet and $3.9 million.

In the WSOP.com half of that series, Nahrain Tamero won the $1,000 NLHE Championship for $310,832. The Californian could claim his own US half of the title.

Whatever the case, a new Main Event champion will be crowned in some form. Whether that’s this month remains to be seen. The current pandemic situation could always throw a curveball.

Travel restrictions and Coronavirus concerns could alter the heads-up plans. A unique year has certainly made for a unique Main Event.

Those craving live poker may at least enjoy a look back to a different time. The 2019 Main Event final table was a time when live poker was the norm. It’s a time many hope returns soon.

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