For online grinders at WSOP.com, the promotions announcement at the beginning of each month triggers a lengthy exercise in how to maximize EV. For the broader poker community, the menu for August is more likely to fuel the fires of an ongoing controversy.
“August is getting hot hot hot. Bracelet series for the first time EVER in PA,” said WSOP.com in a recent tweet:
As a marketing tool to herald the online poker provider’s entrance into the Pennsylvania market, running a WSOP bracelet series is an understandable move. In the historical context of a WSOP bracelet representing a significant poker accomplishment, the merits of this series are far murkier.
Poker players from all over the world come to Las Vegas to compete in tournaments. The WSOP itself is, of course, held in Sin City. Thus, awarding bracelets for online events held on the WSOP.com Nevada servers is arguably consistent with “world” billing. One can extend the case to New Jersey on the grounds Atlantic City is both a tourist spot and an international poker destination.
And then there’s Pennsylvania.
It’s true that many people enjoy the occasional vacation in the Keystone State. That said, the first, and possibly only, holiday association for many of us is Philadelphia Eagles fans hurling snowballs at Santa Claus. Whatever its attractions, PA simply does not have the poker history nor reach to merit a series that awards World Series gold bracelets.
Not content with erecting one lightning rod, WSOP.com also announced the “Rio Online Circuit Event” that will award twelve gold rings from August 20th-31st.
A couple of issues here. First, it seems a little strange to compete with your own brand partner. GGPoker is currently running a 33-bracelet series, which is not accessible from the U.S.
Second, in what sense can an online series be hosted at the Rio? Multiple reports have suggested 2021 may be the last year the WSOP is held at the property, so maybe parent company Caesars is trying to squeeze one last drop of publicity out of the Rio name? This may backfire, given that many poker players associate that name with ballroom temperatures better suited to meat storage, theft from hotel rooms, and Legionnaires’ disease.
Further incentive to play the Rio Online Circuit Event is provided by a leaderboard mini-game, which in turn vaults top finishers into a $25k freeroll. Playing in at least three Gold Ring events earns entry into an independent “Grinder’s Only Second Chance Freeroll” held on September 3rd. The winner of that event gets a spot in a $250k Year End Championship Event.
And if you win that?
You get a gold bracelet. Probably easier just to spend a few days in PA instead.
Featured image source: Twitter