What does a grassy knoll and Coronavirus (COVID-19) have in common?
For the first time, since Americans wept en masse due to the assassination of J.F.Kennedy, every Las Vegas casino went dark, and unlike the last closure on November 25, 1963 (one day), we don’t know when the lights will go back on.
Nevada State Gov. Steve Sisolak shut down the gambling mecca of the West after COVID-19 cases rose to 50, with one death, and followed similar moves from at least ten more governors.
That’s terrible news for the land-based casino industry, mitigated somewhat if you have an online gambling arm hidden underneath your sleeve.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has thrown a sufficient number of punches in their bid to help resuscitate an ailing online poker market, repeatedly kicked in the kidneys thanks to Black Friday.
And it looks like a reward is nigh.
With the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) sidelined due to a spear from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organisers of one the most iconic poker brands switched the action to their online premises.
What followed was an 18 gold ring series, taking place over 18-days, dubbed the WSOP.com Online Super Circuit. The series began on March 14 and will run until March 31. It’s an unparalleled success for the fledgeling online poker arm, surpassing the $1m guarantee in the first six events.
High Roller Interest
The World Poker Tour (WPT) Champions Club member, James Carroll, won that sixth event (Event #6: $320, $50k GTD NLHE). Carroll took out a field of 726-entrants (461 unique) to win the $53,361 first prize. You don’t find Carroll flicking it in $25,000+ events, but $10,000 events have become a staple.
Other high rollers that have made final tables in the first six events include Matt “berkey11_s4y” Berkey, Lauren’ sycamore22′ Roberts, and Joseph “biueberry’ Cheong.
The WSOP has also promised a free seat into the 2019/2020 Global Casino Championship to the winner of the Main Event and the Online Circuit Casino Championship winner (the player who amasses the most points during the series). Currently Matt “RubberFist” Stout sits on top of that leaderboard, which is more comfortable than sitting on top of his rubber fist. Roberts and Carroll also feature in the list.
That Pesky Adelson
The WSOP put the kibosh on the WSOPC in the early rounds of the fight against COVID-19. Still, the WSOP is keeping its powder dry on the fate on every poker player’s Christmas Day.
If the event does go the way of the WSOPC (and the chances are high that it will), then you assume Seth Palansky, Jack Effel and co. will introduce an online WSOP bracelet schedule that must be sitting on a WSOP employee’s Google Drive.
If that does happen, as with the WSOPC, it’s sad that the whole world won’t get to take part, and worse than that, 47 American states will also have to read about the headlines on PokerNews.
One of the men you can thank for keeping the tourniquet tight around online poker’s neck is the Las Vegas Sands owner, Sheldon Adelson. How ironic then, that the market wiped 40% of the stock price of Las Vegas Sands, as it closes, along with the rest of Sin City on a UFN basis, and he doesn’t have an online option to fall back on.
Not that it will wipe the gentility from any sentence that mentions him, as the 40% uppercut means his net worth drizzles from $34 billion to $28 billion.
Here are the remaining highlights of the series for interested high rollers.
29 March – $525 (3x re-entry) $200k GTD Main Event
31 March – $1,000 (2x re-entry) $75k GTD High Roller