WSOP.com 18-ring Fall Super Circuit prize pools misleading

Kat Martin
Published by:
Posted on 10/07/2021

Earlier today, WSOP.com emailed Nevada and New Jersey players with the full schedule for the Fall Online Super Circuit series.

While the dates of the series have been on the WSOP.com calendar for some time, the official notification of tournament details comes only two days before the series begins on October 9. It runs until October 26, awarding 18 WSOP gold rings.

This is the third Super Circuit series of the year, with one allocated to each season. Nine less-super circuit series round out the WSOP online circuit calendar, with a total of 130 gold rings awarded in 2021.

The ups and downs of prize-pool guarantees

The guarantees on prize pools offered by WSOP.com provide a useful barometer for the site’s optimism over player turn-out. While there are some minor changes to the three known Super Circuit schedules for 2021, there is enough uniformity that direct event comparisons are possible.

In the Spring of this year, for example, the lead-off $500 buy-in 8-max event guaranteed $100k to competitors. That guarantee was slashed to $75k for the summer running of the series, when the event was again the first on the schedule. Similarly, the $150k guarantee on the spring $2k super high-roller event was reduced to $100k for the summer tournament.

It seems likely that the late confirmation of the fall series details is related to setting guarantees. By delaying the full announcement, WSOP.com has obtained a clearer picture of the likely level of participation.

Advertised totals up, confidence down?

Both the spring and summer series boasted prize-pool guarantees of over $1 million dollars. The fall iteration has a total guaranteed prize pool of over $1.5 million. At first sight, this suggests WSOP.com is confident in a high turnout for the series, but the devil is in the details.

First, the 52nd annual WSOP currently underway in Las Vegas creates a huge spike in the number of poker players within the state borders. One would therefore expect WSOP.com to offer a significantly higher total guarantee for the fall series.

Second, and more importantly, a direct event-to-event comparison reveals something strange is happening. The $500 buy-in 8-max referenced above, for example, is once again on the schedule, but its guarantee is still set at the summer low point of $75k. Similarly, the $2k super high-roller mirrors the summer $100k guarantee, not the higher spring number.

So how does the fall series offer a higher total guaranteed prize-pool relative to the spring series, despite having lower guarantees on the same events?

Simple. It does not.

While billed as “over $1 million in guarantees”, the spring series guaranteed total was $1.84 million. The total guaranteed prize pool for the upcoming fall series is $1.59 million.

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