If the first week of the 2018 World Series of Poker proved anything, it’s that it could very well become known as the 2018 World Series of Online Poker.
Let’s not get too carried away. After all, online bracelet events still make up only four of 78 total bracelet events on the 2018 WSOP schedule. But it’s looking like those four online bracelet events will all draw record numbers.
Of course, this comes as no surprise. Particularly because entry numbers for WSOP online bracelet events have grown every year since the WSOP started running them. Plus, thanks to New Jersey signing on to an interstate agreement with Nevada and Delaware, players from the Garden State are allowed to play in the online tournaments from home for the first time this year.
WSOP.com online bracelet history
The first ever online WSOP bracelet event in 2015 had a $1,000 buy-in. It drew 905 entries. North Carolina’s Anthony Spinella won it. More on him later.
In 2016, the same event drew 1,247 entries. In 2017, the WSOP decided to hold three online bracelet events. The affordable $333 buy-in event drew a record 2,509 entries. The traditional $1,000 event grew to 1,312, and a $3,333 high roller drew 424 entries.
The final three online tournaments on the 2018 WSOP schedule won’t run until close to the end of the month. However, the first one ran in the first week and it made quite a statement, drawing some pretty big numbers.
Breaking online field size records
The $365 buy-in re-entry event drew 2,123 players and 2,972 buy-ins. Numbers that made it the largest field ever assembled online for a WSOP bracelet event.
A French journalist who lives in Texas, William ‘Twooopair’ Reymond, won it for $154,995. Coincidentally, inaugural WSOP online bracelet event winner Spinella made the final table. After also winning the first ever online WSOP Circuit gold ring event held on WSOP.com Nevada in February, Spinella is fast becoming a WSOP.com legend.
Unfortunately, there are indications the first online bracelet event in 2018 would have seen even more buy-ins had several software glitches been avoided.
A number of players, particularly Internationals, ran into a glitch trying to register for the event. Apparently, the software sent a message indicating they’d already registered when they hadn’t, and they got shut out.
A number of connectivity issues were also reported. Plus, even though there were unlimited re-entries, players were allowed only 30 seconds to get back in after they busted, making it impossible to make a deposit to cover the re-entry in time.
What’s next online?
The WSOP and its software partner 888poker are expected to fix these issues before the next event goes off June 22. An event guaranteed to set a record for entries, because it’s the first time the WSOP is running it.
It’s a $565 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed event and the price point should help it draw fairly large numbers as well.
The traditional $1,000 WSOP.com Online Championship is up June 29. As long as the WSOP and 888 get the glitches fixed before then, WSOP.com New Jersey players should help it grow beyond the record 1,312 entries it drew in 2017.
Finally, a $3,200 high roller will go off June 30 as a favorite to push past the 424 entries the high roller drew last year.
Add it all up, and while the 2018 WSOP won’t really be remembered as the 2018 World Series of Online Poker, it should be taking a step towards something like that.
As long as the numbers keep climbing, WSOP brass will be incentivized to move even more action online.
Once that happens, can the day where the annual series becomes known as both be that far behind?