Huge turnout on Day 1 of WSOP Main Event

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: December 14, 2020 9:04 pm EST

There was a massive, and perhaps unexpected, turnout on Day 1 of the 2020 WSOP Main Event on in the U.S. More than 700 players, located in Nevada and New Jersey, ponied up $10,000 to buy into the world championship event.

Many expected a relatively low turnout given the prestige of this year’s Main Event was in question. Due to COVID-19, the 51st annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas was canceled and replaced with an online bracelet series on GGPoker (international) and (U.S.).

Ty Stewart, the WSOP’s head hauncho, decided in November the year couldn’t end without crowning a world champion. Thus, the reason his team created a hybrid version of the traditional $10,000 tournament, which takes place annually in Las Vegas.

The event began November 29 on GGPoker and played down to a final table of nine, which will be played December 15 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. GGPoker is only available outside the U.S., so only international players competed.

Over on, a separate but connected 2020 WSOP Main Event began yesterday for players in Nevada and New Jersey. The nine finalists in that tournament will compete at the Rio in Las Vegas December 28. And then the winners of each final table will meet at the Rio on December 30 to determine a world champion. The WSOP is adding $1 million to the prize pool, paid in full to the heads-up winner.

Large field a pleasant surprise

Few expected a massive turnout for the WSOP Main Event on Players could only compete in Nevada and New Jersey, and not everyone wants to travel during a global health pandemic.

While the field was far smaller than a traditional Main Event, the turnout was far better than expected. On Sunday, 705 players registered on for the freezeout event. That created a huge prize pool, and the top two finishers will take home more than $1 million each.

A few past winners, including Greg Raymer and Phil Hellmuth, competed in the 2020 WSOP Main Event. Both former champions went home. Raymer suffered a bad beat with pocket aces to bust short of the money.

Daniel Negreanu took some time away from his heads-up battle against Doug Polk to compete for a world title. He finished in the money (92nd place for $14,980) but won’t be taking home the bracelet. And that’s going to cost the GGPoker ambassador $100,000 in a prop bet to Connor Drinan. Negreanu and Drinan made a $100,000 bracelet bet, and since Drinan won a bracelet this year and Negreanu didn’t, “DNegs” must now pay up.

At the end of the day, only 71 players remained, all still in the hunt to become the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion. Skilled poker pro Upeshka De Silva bagged the largest stack (1,930,067). He’ll return as the chip leader on Day 2 Monday.

Other notable players who advanced to Day 2 include Galen Hall (1,271,362), Joseph Cheong (931,202), Jason Somerville (692,314), Darren Elias (632,176), Nick Schulman (585,012), and Dan Zack (420,146).

On Day 2, play will conclude as soon as the final table of nine has been reached. The remaining players will then take a break until December 28 and then meet up at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Featured image source: Twitter