Live poker has returned to Brazil and South America in a big way, where the Brazilian Series of Poker (BSOP) has seen its main event set a new Southern Hemisphere mark for the largest turnout in a single poker tournament. The main event in the BSOP drew a record 4,113 entries, easily topping the old mark of 3.472 entries, set in 2015.
The record turnout heralds a return to near normality for poker in Brazil and elsewhere in South America. The country suffered one of the highest COVID-19 outbreaks anywhere on the globe, beginning in 2020 and peaking in the spring of 2021. More than 10 percent of the country is known to have caught the virus, though case rates dropped significantly over the past six months.
That easing of pressure on Brazil’s national health system cleared the way for the BSOP to return. The long-running, PokerStars-sponsored series began in 2012. It had been on hiatus since January of 2020, however, due to the ongoing pandemic.
New prize pool mark for event
The BSOP main event also set a new record for its prize pool. The 4,113-entry field generated a R$11.6 million (about US $2.05 million), easily topping the old mark of R$8.6 million (about US $1.5 million), also set in the 2015 BSOP main event. Turnout at the BSOP lagged a bit from 2016-2020, due to external factors, while many Brazilian poker stars focused on online play during that period, with several of the country’s pros now ranking at the very top of international leaderboards and ranking systems.
The 2021 BSOP main event has likely set a prize pool mark for Brazil (and probably all of South America) as well. For all of the Southern Hemisphere, however, the BSOP’s new mark still ranks well behind several events over the past decade at Melbourne, Australia’s renowned Aussie Millions series. The Aussie Millions runs events with significantly higher price points, on average, than the BSOP. The BSOP main event would have to nearly triple in size, which is unlikely in its present format, to challenge the Aussie Millions’ existing single-event marks.
The 2019 Aussie Millions main event, for example, built a prize pool of AU $8,220,000, or more than US$ 5.9 million. That event, though, featured a buy-in of AU $10,600, roughly US $8,000. The BSOP’s R$ 3,500 main event, by comparison, is the equivalent of a US $620 entry.
What remains to be seen is who claims the 2021 BSOP main event crown. The tournament concludes on Sunday, with well-known Brazilian online pro Mauricio Moraes De Farias holding a narrow chip lead as the event’s final table begins.
Featured image source: Brazilian Series of Poker