For countless recreational poker players, the dream to head out to Vegas and take a shot in a World Series of Poker event remains just out of reach. Even with cheaper buy-ins than ever before — already this year at the 50th annual WSOP, players have had access to one live tournament at a $500 price point and two more that cost $600 — it becomes a financial strain when you factor in air fare, hotel nights, and the loss of valuable vacation days.
In Nevada and New Jersey, however — and this is admittedly small consolation to players in the other 48 states — it is possible to win a WSOP bracelet without setting foot in the Rio.
The existence of online bracelet events is particularly impactful for those in the Garden State, since Nevada rounders never had to factor in the flights and hotels anyway.
Last week brought positive news for those New Jersey players: A New Hampshire judge ruled the Wire Act of 1961 to be applicable only to sports betting, essentially wiping off the board the Department of Justice opinion issued in January that temporarily threatened interstate online poker liquidity. The DOJ might appeal, and the Wire Act issue may still go to the Supreme Court.
And over the weekend, WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky issued the confirmation those NJ players were hoping for, stating that “barring something unforeseen,” all of this year’s remaining online bracelet events will be open to players in New Jersey. That’s quite a turnaround from before the New Hampshire ruling, when it was expected that any event after the DOJ’s compliance deadline of June 14 would be Nevada-only.
Online bracelet events so far
This year’s WSOP schedule features a record nine online events, with one every Sunday over the course of the Series, plus a couple of Wednesday events.
It started with Event 7, a $400 no-limit hold’em tourney, on June 2. Exact numbers of New Jersey-based entrants have not been made available, but we know NJ made an impact. There were 1,965 players and 860 re-buys, and when the dust cleared after a final table that featured all-time bracelet king Phil Hellmuth, Yong Keun Kwon, known on WSOP.com as “LuckySpewy1,” was left standing, $165,263 richer. And Kwon did it from New Jersey. (He lists Palisades Park as his residence.)
This past Sunday’s Event 24, $600 six-handed pot-limit Omaha, was not won by a player from Jersey. (Las Vegas’ Josh Pollock won his second career bracelet and $139,470.)
But the WSOP did provide NJ Online Gambling with the event statistics, and we can see the solid impact New Jersey had.
The PLO tournament attracted 652 entrants, who rebought 564 times, producing a $656,640 prize pool. Of the 652 who ponied up, 559 were in Nevada and 93 were in New Jersey.
That’s 14.26% coming from NJ. And that’s right in line with what we saw in 2018, the first year of NJ access to WSOP bracelet events. Players located in New Jersey accounted for between 13% and 17% of last year’s online fields, except in the $3,200 high roller tournament, where only 6.5% were in NJ. It makes sense that the higher the price point, the greater the percentage of players would already be in Nevada, participating in the live WSOP.
Lucky seven remaining
What’s still to come on the WSOP online bracelet schedule are the seven tournaments that NJ players weren’t necessarily expecting a week or two ago to be able to enter.
All are no-limit hold’em events, and all start at 3:30 p.m. Vegas time, 6:30 p.m. ET:
- June 16: $600 KO
- June 19: $500 Turbo Deepstack
- June 23: $1,000 Double Stack
- June 30: $1,000 Online Championship
- July 3: $3,200 High Roller 8-Handed
- July 7: $800 6-Handed
- July 14: $500 Summer Saver
Photo by Shutterstock.com
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