For those interested in the future of U.S. online poker, Event #64 of the 2015 WSOP held special significance. After all, this $1,000 buy-in NLHE tournament was the first online bracelet event in the history of the WSOP. But beyond what this meant for the WSOP, Event #64 also had huge ramifications for U.S. iPoker in general. That said, let’s discuss the good that will arise from this tournament.
Regulated US Online Poker Prize Pool Record smashed
It’s little secret that with just three states offering legal iPoker, the American market has not gotten off to an amazing start. The main drawback is the lack of liquidity, which is due to the fact that Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada only have a combined population of approximately 12.8 million people. But this $1k WSOP online bracelet event showed what’s possible even in a small market.
905 players anted up the $1k buy-in, which, minus rake, created an $859,750 prize pool. And Anthony Spinella was the biggest winner here, grabbing a $197,743 payout along with a gold bracelet.
The $859,750 prize pool is easily a record for the regulated U.S. online poker market, more than tripling the old benchmark of $247,000. And what’s interesting is that this $247k prize pool was achieved through the “25 (Main Event) Seat Scramble” event on WSOP.com.
Let’s put Further Perspective behind this Record
While $860k is definitely a big tournament, it pales in comparison to some of the massive tourneys put on by PokerStars, and even lags behind the $1 million gtd. that the unregulated and offshore WPN recently held. But here’s the thing: Event #64 was only open to those within the state of Nevada. That’s a population of 2.84 million residents, plus the poker pros who are in Vegas for the 2015 WSOP.
Even with the latter, some of these pros were wrapped up with other live tournaments and didn’t want to bother with a $1k online tourney – something they can find at PokerStars on a regular basis. Further working against Event #64 was the fact that it started at 12:00pm the day before Fourth of July Weekend began. So it’s not like this was a player-friendly schedule being offered.
What does all of this mean for U.S. Online Poker?
It’s unlikely that Event #64 is going to give a massive boost to the overall iGaming market in America. But what’s important here is that, despite a number of factors working against it, this $1,000 online NLHE tourney generated a pretty big prize pool. So the key is that, even in a small state, the U.S. regulated market can get a large tournament going – especially when there’s something to get excited about like a gold bracelet being at stake.
The buzz around a gold bracelet and being a WSOP champion can’t be faked. But if more states get involved in the U.S. iPoker market and share liquidity, then some interesting promotions could definitely build excitement and create larger tourneys.