The melding of live and online poker that first began at the 2014 World Series of Poker with the implementation of the “Grind Room” at the Rio – and the WSOP suddenly encouraging its customers to play online poker while playing in WSOP tournaments – will continue to be developed at the 2016 WSOP.
The 2014 “Grind Room” may be a thing of the past, but the WSOP has come a very long way in its efforts to integrate its online poker offerings for brick and mortar customers experiencing the World Series of Poker.
Thanks to advancements on the mobile gaming front in 2015, players no longer had to bring their laptops to the tables in order to play at WSOP.com in Nevada (something they did have to do in 2014) as their phones and tablets would now suffice. 2015 also saw WSOP and WSOP.com go all-in on online satellites, and even instituted an online bracelet event – which was very well-received.
2016 will see feature less radical change. Instead the WSOP will build on its successes from last year, with the return of the Online Bracelet Tournament at WSOP.com in Nevada, as well as a full slate of online qualifiers to popular WSOP tournaments such as the Main Event and the Colossus II at WSOP.com in both Nevada and New Jersey.
Here’s a look at the crossover promotions the World Series of Poker and WSOP.com have cooked up in 2016.
The return of the online bracelet event
For the second consecutive year, the World Series of Poker will incorporate an online bracelet tournament into the WSOP series.
The $1,000 buy-in online bracelet tournament will take place on July 8, the day before the Main Event. As was the case last year, the tournament is only available to players at WSOP.com in Nevada. Unlike last year, the online event will not feature a live final table, as this time around the entire tournament will be played online.
The timing of the online bracelet event is a brilliant strategy by the WSOP, as it allows players in town for the Main Event to also play in the online bracelet event. Last year’s tournament took place three days before the Main Event and was won by Anthony Spinella, who pocketed nearly $200k after beating a field of 905 players.
I suspect the number of entries will be larger this time around, both because of the timing, and because of another smart marketing move by the WSOP, which I’ll explain in a moment.
Main Event qualifiers
Players in Nevada and New Jersey have several ways to qualify for the 2016 WSOP Main Event at WSOP.com. The current prize package in New Jersey is valued at $13,000. It includes a $10,000 Main Event buy-in, $2,000 for travel expenses, and this is the smart marketing move I alluded to above: an entry into the $1,000 Online Bracelet Event.
Important note: New Jersey players will have to be in Nevada, and create a separate WSOP.com Nevada account to participate in the online event.
The Main Event qualifiers ($200 buy-in tournaments with at least one $13,000 WSOP Main Event prize package up for grabs) will take place every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and every Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. at WSOP.com.
Sit & Go qualifiers to the Main Event (as well as other WSOP tournaments) will be added in the future.
Colossus II satellites
The inaugural Colossus tournament created quite a buzz at last year’s series, as the $565 buy-in tournament garnered over 22,000 entries when all was said and done, bringing a hubbub to the Rio and Vegas poker rooms not seen since the heyday of the poker boom.
Unsurprisingly, the WSOP is bringing back the Colossus in 2016, and spending a lot of energy promoting it, likely hoping to recreate, or even better, last year’s Colossus.
As such, WSOP.com is running direct satellites for Colossus II. The buy-ins for these satellites start at just $10, and since the Colossus’s buy-in is a mere $565, the site will be awarding a lot of seats through these online satellites.
Not every WSOP satellite will result in a direct buy-in to the Main Event or the Colossus. WSOP.com is also hosting satellites for all of its tournaments in the form of WSOP tournament buy-in chips, also known as lammers.
Winners of these satellites will receive WSOP lammers (lammers are basically “WSOP Bucks,” a currency similar to Disney Dollars that can only be used to enter WSOP tournaments) that can be used at the winner’s discretion. These chips can be used to enter any WSOP event this summer.
WSOP.com is already running these WSOP lammer satellites, including two weekly $10 Re-Buy and Add-On tournaments (Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 4:15 p.m.) with a starting prize pool of $1,000 in WSOP tournament buy-in chips.
Furthermore, any player earning 10 Action Points in April will also receive an entry into WSOP.com’s Freeroll Friday tournament, which will also award $1,000 in WSOP lammers.
I expect more and more satellite events to be introduced as the start of the WSOP gets closer and even more during the series, when hundreds and thousands of poker players descend on the city.