Growth of WSOP Online Bracelet Events
This week’s release of the 2018 World Series of Poker tournament schedule revealed four online poker events included, all one-day events played online and prepared to award gold WSOP bracelets to the winners. Only three online poker events were offered in 2017, the same number as the previous year. But as the WSOP’s site has grown and prepares for further growth in 2018, organizers chose to include more events to be played away from the tables at the Rio in Las Vegas.
WSOP has dominated the online poker scene for the past several years as the only licensed real-money poker site accessible to players in Nevada. But without any competition or poignant avenues for growth, and without Nevada gaming officials willing to release facts and figures pertaining to the site’s revenue, it has been hard to gauge its true success. However, several events on the horizon indicate the site has reasons to hit new heights in 2018.
More Events in 2018
At the 2016 WSOP, there were two online events at the WSOP website; one was a $1K two-day top-up turbo NLHE event and the other a $1K single-day NLHE.
This year, the WSOP offered three online tournaments, starting at the beginning of the series with a $333 buy-in unlimited reentry NLHE event. Toward the end of the schedule, there was a $3,333 high roller NLHE and a $1K LHE Championship with unlimited reentries.
Next year, there will be four events, all to be single-day tournaments played completely online.
Event #9 (Sunday, June 3): $365 NLHE with unlimited reentries
Event #47 (Friday, June 22): $565 PLO 6-Handed with unlimited reentries
Event #61 (Friday, June 29): $1,000 NLHE Championship with unlimited reentries
Event #63 (Saturday, June 30): $3,200 NLHE High Roller with unlimited reentries
This schedule spreads the games more evenly throughout the series and adds an Omaha option for some variety. The buy-ins range from low to high for players of varying bankrolls as well, though all allow unlimited reentries to grow the prize pools. There are no guarantees set for the events but may be added as the series nears in 2018.
This year the schedule includes 4 online bracelet events with an online PLO event for the first time ever! https://t.co/2r9FiQ3Wjr
— WSOP.com (@WSOPcom) December 12, 2017
The expansion of online events reflects the experience of the past few years mixed with expectations of some growth in 2018. The desire to draw more players online is reflected in the two low buy-in events with the likely hope of more player registrations, a larger overall player base, and more people interested in the online product in subsequent visits to Nevada.
Factors for Future Growth
One thing likely on the mind of all WSOP live and online tournament planners is that the 2019 series will be the 50th Annual WSOP, a tremendous milestone that will be celebrated in many ways. Many of the moves made in 2018 will be used to gauge what they will be able to offer for celebrations that will accompany the 2019 games.
With online poker satellites starting as early as February in 2018, the WSOP executives are likely hoping to see more qualifiers than in previous years. Such growth would be a significant marketing tool for future years as well as a way to build momentum for changes in the US online poker system.
— WSOP (@WSOP) December 13, 2017
Said changes will happen in 2018 as WSOP/888 will be the first site to launch in all three states included in the latest version of the interstate online poker liquidity agreement. The sites are already pooled together for Nevada and Delaware players, but New Jersey has signed on to join the network that is likely to launch sometime in the first half of 2018. As the only operator currently licensed in all three states, WSOP/888 will be looking to capitalize on its strengths, one of which is its monopoly of the Nevada market and its connection to the WSOP series.
More changes will likely take shape in 2018 as Pennsylvania’s newly-authorized online poker business will begin issuing licenses and preparing for its launch of online gaming. While it appears unlikely that the sites will be online and open before the WSOP starts in Las Vegas next year, it will still be a significant point of growth for the WSOP as the only site to expand into all four states.
These are all assumptions, of course. However, the experienced people at the WSOP know the potential that lies ahead and the different ways it might be able to capitalize on the opportunities.
The expansion of the 2018 online poker bracelets might not seem significant at first glance, but it is all a part of laying the groundwork for major expansion in 2018 and 2019.
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