WSOP WEEKLY: World Series of Poker Bracelet Series Closes with Huge Numbers

Sean Chaffin August 3, 2020
The bracelet hunting begins this week at WSOP.com.

It’s been a monster July for online poker players in the US. The World Series of Poker Online at WSOP.com brought in huge numbers that should greatly impact the month’s online revenue totals.

After 31 events, the action has now shifted to GGPoker for international players. The $1,000 championship event came on Friday with Nahrain “2Rivers” Tamero taking the final bracelet and $310,832. Here’s a complete look at the news surrounding the WSOP.com events.

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Massive turnout for WSOP.com 

The WSOP Online filled a need with the traditional live WSOP delayed until the fall because of the Coronavirus pandemic. This series easily becomes the most online bracelets offered to date.

Players missing out on live tournament poker were quick to get in the action. The series produced a total of 44,229 entries and paid out $26.9 million.

That included more than $4.7 million paid out to the series’ 31 winners. Here’s a look at the averages for all events:

  • Unique entries – 1,043
  • Total entries – 1,427
  • Prize pool – $866,809
  • Payout for winner – $152,208

*average per event

“It’s been a great July overall, even beating 2019’s numbers when the WSOP was in session bringing a large addressable market into Nevada,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart told USPoker.

Of the 31 events, 84% produced a six-figure first-place payouts with only five events missing that target. The largest prize pool came in the last event of the series, the $1,000 NLHE Championship.

That event saw a total prize pool of a bit over $2 million. The largest payout came in the $3,200 High Roller with Joe McKeehen adding $352,985 to his poker resumé. Here’s a look at all the WSOP.com winners and statistics:

Event Buy-In Unique Entries Re-Entries Total Prize Pool Top Prize Winner
#1 NLHE Kick-Off $500 1195 520 1715 $771,750 $130,426 Jonathan "Art.Vandelay" Dokler
#2 NLHE 8-Handed Deepstack $1,000 647 272 919 $873,050 $168,586 Louis "PokeThese" Lynch
#3 NLHE $400 1450 641 2091 $752,760 $115,850 Robert "bustinballs" Kuhn
#4 NLHE Super Turbo $500 828 351 1179 $530,550 $97,091 Matt "Bodeyster" Bode
#5 NLHE Freezeout $1,000 854 0 854 $811,300 $161,286 Allen "Acnyc718" Chang
#6 PLO 6-Handed $600 497 386 883 $449,820 $89,424 Nathan "surfbum" Gamble
#7 NLHE Knockout Deepstack $800 989 NA 989 $731,660 $103,127 Joon "jykpoker" Kim
#8 NLHE Freezeout $500 1,479 0 1,479 $665,550 $119,400.00 Alan "GladiusIII" Goehring
#9 NLHE Six-Max $1,000 658 368 1026 $974,700 $188,214 Ron “MacDaddy15” McMillen
#10 NLHE Monster Stack $600 1,505 569 2,074 $1,119,960 $172,361 Ryan "Im.sorry" Torgerson
#11 NLHE Turbo Deepstack 6-Handed $500 1,081 610 1,691 $760,950 $128,601 Raman "Acrogum" Afanasenka
#12 BIG 500 NLHE $500 1,624 803 2,427 $1,092,150 $159,563 Ryan "joeyisamush" Depaulo
#13 NLHE High Roller Freezeout $1,500 649 0 649 $924,825 $164,249 Michael "miguelfiesta" Lech
#14 NLHE High Roller $3,200 368 128 496 $1,507,840 $352,985 Joe "fanofdapoker" McKeehen
#15 PLO 8-Max HR $1,000 386 277 663 $629,850 $133,780.00 Guy "PhilLaak" Dunlap
#16 NLHE Turbo $500 1,044 484 1,528 $687,600 $116,204 Terrell "Heezahustla" Cheatham
#17 NLHE $777 917 465 1,382 $967,400 $173,551 Pat "IchiiKawawa" Lyons
#18: NLHE 8-Handed Turbo DeepStack $1,000 697 290 987 $937,650 $181,060 Scott "BudLightLime" Hempel
#19: NLHE $400 1,757 788 2,545 $916,200 $133,856 Kenny "Chopuh" Huynh
#20 PLO Six-handed $500 627 510 1,137 $511,650 $97,572 Kevin "therealkg" Gerhart
#21 NLHE Six-Handed $777 849 512 1,361 $952,700 $168,342 Tony "Panoramic" Dunst
#22 NLHE Turbo Deepstack $500 1,082 497 1,579 $710,550 $120,083 Allan "Treeoflife" Cheung
#23 NLHE Knckout $500 1,452 0 1,452 $667,920 $93,776 Raymond "avant9201" Avant
#24 NLHE Eight-Handed $400 1,590 818 2,408 $866,880 $133,413 Nick "samadhi" Binger
#25 NLHE Summer Saver $500 1,484 671 2,155 $969,750 $149,245 Nicholas "mrfinalt" Kiley
#26 NLHE Grande Finale $500 1,677 825 2,502 $1,125,900 $164,494 Ethan "RampageP" Yau
#27: NLHE Freezeout $400 1,940 NA 1,940 $698,400 $110,557 Ian "ApokerJoker2" Steinman
#28: Omaha Hi-Lo 6-Max $1,000 425 100 525 $498,750 $110,673 William "SlaweelRyam" Romaine
#29: NLHE Deepstack $2,000 580 167 747 $1,419,300 $305,433 Nick "shadowjacker" Guagenti
#30 NLHE Seniors Event $500 541 179 720 $324,000 $64,411 Jonathan "SugarJ" Lessin
#31 NLHE Championship $1,000 1,455 671 2,126 $2,019,700 $310,832 Nahrain "2Rivers" Tamero
TOTALS 32,327 44,229 $26,871,065 $4,718,445
Average – 1,043 Average – 1,427 Average – $866,809 Average – $152,208

Bracelet events add pop to US legal online poker efforts

There has been plenty of debate about the legitimacy of awarding so many WSOP online bracelets. Players have been concerned the series waters down the meaning of winning a bracelet.

Others question if so many should be awarded when events are only available in two states – Nevada and New Jersey.

But from the standpoint of legal US online poker, there may not have been a bigger event. The series absolutely crushed anything in the history of state-by-state online poker.

Legalized online poker has been front and center. The Wire Act remains an issue, but the growth of the industry has shown positive signs.

The WSOP Online series focuses even more attention on the need for other states to get on board. After years of stagnation, there is now some momentum. The WSOP Online may have been the crescendo to that.

“Generally every poker operator in the world was trending down from highs in April due to stay at home orders,” Stewart says. “But July will be the largest month of all time for WSOP.com by every metric”

Does this series’ success mean even more bracelet events when the live series returns?

“I won’t speculate about the future at this time,” Stewart says. “We looked at WSOP Online 2020 as a once in a lifetime platform to fill a void. Certainly there is interest for online programming and we’ll continue to evaluate the best path forward.”

Michigan and West Virginia have both also legalized online poker with hopes to go live within the next year. A positive ruling in the Wire Act case could aid efforts at US expansion even more.

A federal appeals court ruling may come in the next two months. In the meantime, WSOP.com officials are working toward online growth.

“Our biggest goal remains trying to aid regulations in additional markets,” Stewart says, “so more players can participate in these sort of tournament series without required travel.”

On a rampage and streaming a bracelet win

After weeks of bracelet hunting and some big names cashing in, another interesting moment came in Event 26: $500 NLHE Grande Finale.

Poker streamer Ethan “RampageP” Yau, 22, took down the event for his first bracelet and $164,494. He did this all while streaming his action at his “RampagePoker” YouTube channel.

Yau, from Quincy, Massachusetts, has only $2,800 in live tournament winnings. He’s now added to that significantly.

“Let’s go!” Yau yelled when his pocket fours held up for the title. Then, despite being a streamer, he sat in stunned silence for several seconds taking it all in.

Heading to the Garden State turned out to be a nice decision. But despite the win, Yau apparently had some explaining to do after returning to Massachusetts

“Now how do I tell my mother that I’m not at Cape Cod, but actually drove down to New Jersey during [Coronavirus],” he said on stream after the win. “Because she was very much against it. I told her I was at the cape this weekend.”

Las Vegas WSOP remains in question

With the WSOP action shifting to GGPoker, many players in the US will be left out of the bracelet mix. That leaves one obvious question: will there be a traditional live World Series of Poker at all this year?

Series officials made the announcement in April that the event would be postponed until fall. But the months are passing and the poker world still remains mostly in lockdown.

On Monday, Stewart offered no update for the live series. Other major tournament series like the World Poker Tour haven’t returned to action either. With no timetables available, the WSOP may become more in question in coming weeks.

More online action is surely on the horizon at WSOP.com and other sites are attempting to fill that void. However, if the live series is cancelled many poker fans will be disappointed. It would be the first time the series hasn’t been played since its found in 1970.

The series also means plenty of business for Las Vegas hotels and casinos. At a time when the city is attempting to recover, major events like the WSOP could help its economic recovery.

WSOP officials are stuck in a tough spot. Many states are reopening, but poker is a different animal. Players in close quarters mutually touching chips is a difficult problem when trying to social distance.

Field sizes at the Rio each summer are huge and that many players in one location remains a problem during the pandemic. So many questions remain for live poker and running a live WSOP will be a difficult proposition.

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Ian Steinman tops WSOP leaderboard

With the WSOP Online in the books, California’s Ian “APokerJoker2” Steinman emerged as the player of the series. He adds an extra $18,000 to his series winnings.

Steinman won Event #27: NLHE Freezeout for $110,557. His 15 total cashes also included fifth- and sixth-place finishes.

“It feels pretty cool,” he told USPoker. “I really wanted to win the leaderboard so I’m glad I could hang on at the end.

Steinman is no stranger to USPoker readers. After winning his first WSOPC ring in 2017 and a huge 2018, he was named a player to watch in 2019.

“I’m very fortunate,” he says. “I’ve had some good coaches and people around me to get me in the right positions. That plus a little bit of run good is a good combo.”

After a huge series that included a win and a runner-up, Ryan “Im.Sorry” Torgerson finished second in the standings. He came up just 101 points behind Steinman and won an extra $12,000. Here’s a look at the complete final standings:

  • 1st – Ian “APokerJoker2” Steinman, 3,186.94
  • 2nd – Ryan “Im.Sorry” Torgerson, 3,085.34
  • 3rd – Robert “BustinBalls” Kuhn, 2,996.16 points
  • 4th – Philip “tomte” Yeh, 2,714.33
  • 5th – William “SlaweelRyam” Romaine, 2,639.85
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