2020 WSOP at GGPoker: What We've Learned at the Halfway Stage

WSOP at GGPoker

The online edition of the 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is hovering around the halfway stage at GGPoker and if the second half of the series is anywhere near the quality of the first we’re in for a major treat in the coming weeks.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the festival so far.

GGPoker Responds Well to First Weekend Troubles

The opening weekend of any poker festival, online or live, is meant to be one to remember. This one was, but for all the wrong reasons.

Event #32: $100 The Opener and Event #33: $1,111 Every 1 for Covid Relief were two of the events in full swing when the GGPoker software fell over. Two incidents plus a Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) attack were to blame.

The first incident was caused by an influx of players and an unprecedented number of observers at the tables. This resulted in what GGPoker described as “service bottlenecks”.

Incident number two resulted in certain customers being disconnected from the software. This brace of issues were fixed by some emergency server downtime, but both events had to be postponed for a week.

GGPoker also revealed it had suffered a DDoS attack on July 20. Staff from GGPoker informed PokerNews it had improved one of its servers to handle the anticipated influx of players, but an error meant it wasn’t protected from DDoS attacks. This has since been rectified and a second layer of DDoS protection has been added.

Whatever the boffins behind the scenes at GGPoker did looks to have worked because the rest of the events have gone off without a hitch despite some massive events taking place.

Opening day plagued by issues

Big Names and Big Stories

Several established players have helped themselves to WSOP bracelets in the completed events so far.

Finnish legend Juha Helppi was one of the first bracelet winners. Helppi triumphed in the Event #35: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, outlasting 327-opponents to bank $290,286.

Perhaps the most popular result was when Roberto Romanello came out on top of the Event #39: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event. The $212,613 prize awarded to Romanello was obviously welcome to the Welshman, but the fact he secured his first WSOP bracelet and, therefore, became only the ninth player in history to win poker’s Triple Crown, means oh so much more to him.

Kristen Bicknell, Romanello’s teammate over at partypoker, secured her third career bracelet in the Event #44: $2,500 NLHE 6-Handed tournament. Bicknell came out on top of an 892-strong field to bank $356,412 and bracelet number three. The Canadian is regarded as the best female poker player of her generation. She’s one of the best poker players, regardless of sex, period.

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Daniel Dvoress famously avoids playing the WSOP in Las Vegas for reasons you read all about here, so he jumped at the chance to win a bracelet when the series moved online. Dvoress was the last player from 6,299 entries in the Event #48: $1,500 MILLIONAIRE MAKER, a $5 million guaranteed event. Dvoress entered the final table as the chip leader, held onto that lead throughout, and emerged as a worthy champion. Victory yielded a gold bracelet and $1,489,289, the largest prize awarded so far.

We also have to doff our cap to Alek “astazz” Stasiak who is the series’ first double bracelet winner. Stasiak won the postponed Event #33: $1,111 Every 1 for Covid Relief tournament before scooping the top prize of $273,505 in Event #52: $1,000 NLHE. Those two results added a combined $616,709 to Stasiak’s bankroll!

Relive Dvoress' incredible MILLIONAIRE MAKER victory

Some Massive Prize Pools

Looking down the current crop of completed events shows some incredible prize pools. The largest, at the time of writing, is the MILLIONAIRE MAKER. GGPoker and the WSOP slapped a $5 million guarantee on the prize pool and that was never in danger. The 6,299 entrants created a humongous $8,976,075 prize pool and all for a $1,500 buy-in.

Of the 28 completed events, only four have paid out less than $1 million. Nine have awarded more than $2 million and five have dished out more than $3 million.

Ranno Sootla, winner of the Event #41: COLOSSUS, topped a field of 12,757-entries and helped himself to $595,930 of the $4,796,632 prize pool, the second-largest prize pool we’ve seen.

These prize pools are only going to grow larger as the series continues. The $500 Mini Main Event still has around half a dozen flights remaining as it marches towards a $5 million guarantee. More than $3.5 million has already been collected.

There is $2 million guaranteed in WSOP #84: $100 WSOP MILLION$, $5 million guaranteed in WSOP #83: $10K WSOP Super MILLION$, and a whopping $25 million guaranteed in the upcoming WSOP #77: $5,000 Main Event!

Romanello secures poker's Triple Crown

WSOP 'Named' Tournaments Performing Well Online

GGPoker, together with the WSOP, created a bustling schedule of bracelet events. Some of those events are online editions of the tournaments we should have seen take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino this summer. All the “named” events have performed strongly in the online world.

The MILLIONAIRE MAKER was extremely successful with 6,299 entrants and an $8,976,075 prize pool. The COLOSSUS and PLOSSUS proved popular too, with 12,757 and 4,356-entries respectively. Until the MILLIONAIRE MAKER event, the COLOSSUS was the biggest event on the schedule courtesy of its $4,796,632 prize pool.

If this trend continues, the Main Event is going to have no issues at all when it comes to reaching its $25 million guarantee. It’s already guaranteed to be the biggest-ever prize pool awarded in a single online poker tournament, we could well be seeing $30 million or more paid out.

Satellite Routes Lead to HUGE ROI

Ever since Chris Moneymaker famously won his 2003 WSOP Main Event seat online before going on to win the $2.5 million top prize, players from around the world have tried to emulate his success.

Two of the early WSOP online bracelet winners won their seats via GGPoker satellites.

Alek “astazz” Stasiak turned a $10 satellite into a $343,203 prize and a bracelet in the WSOP #33: $1,111 Every 1 for Covid Relief event. Before you go clambering for your calculator we’ll tell you this equates to a 3,432,030% ROI!

Ranno “RukKuRuku” Sootla also won his bracelet after winning the $400 COLOSSUS entry from a $50 satellite. His $595,930 prize was boosted by an added $15,000 WSOPE package, resulting in a 1,221,860% return on investment!

A handful of other GGPoker players have enjoyed similar satellite success.

Boban “bobkovic” Zhivkobikj ($5 into $36,455), YiDuo “Tr1pTripM” Yu ($50 into $116,405), and Yu “kris16” Du ($50 into $43,269) are among those parleying players. Surely more satellite stories are on the horizon?

Stasiak becomes series' first double bracelet winner

More Tournaments Still to Come

Several more massive events on the horizon and PokerNews’ live reporting team will bring you all the action from them. You can check out the full schedule of events here, but the following are a small selection of tournaments we simply can’t wait to see crown their champion.

  • Event #54: $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championships
  • Event #70: $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship, $10M Gtd
  • Event #71: BIG 50, $1M Gtd
  • Event #77: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event, 25M Gtd
  • Event #83: $10K WSOP Super MILLION$, $5M Gtd

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