World Series of Poker Announces Core 2020 WSOP Dates

The World Series of Poker offered its annual holiday gift earlier than usual this year. Last week, WSOP executives offered up the starting and ending dates for the 2020 summer series, as well as the dates for some of the most popular events.

51 Days of 51st Annual WSOP

A December 11 announcement showed the 2020 WSOP starting to take form.

The 51st World Series of Poker will open its doors on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 for cash games and satellites. The first bracelet events will get underway on the following day, May 27. Action will then run all the way through Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Cash games will be available 24 hours per day for low, medium, and high-stakes players. There will be a daily tournament schedule for non-bracelet tournaments as well, as was available in 2019. Details for those dailies will emerge early next year.

Three Tournaments Set

The first of the three tournaments announced already is the Big 50. Some may remember that the Big 50 event was introduced in 2019 as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration for the WSOP. But it was such a hit that it’s returning in 2020 during the opening weekend.

  • $500 buy-in Big 50 No Limit Hold’em
  • 50,000 starting chips and 50-minute levels
  • Four starting flights: Thursday, May 28 through Sunday, May 31

The second event on the schedule so far is the Seniors Championship, one that has become very popular with players over 50 years of age.

  • $1K buy-in Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship
  • Single reentries allowed
  • Starting day of Thursday, June 18 leads to final table on Sunday, June 21

Last but certainly not least, the WSOP Main Event is ready with dates and a few details. One such detail that has raised eyebrows is that late registration will allow players to enter through the first level of Day 2, something new for the Main Event. Other than that, the tournament is set to run as usual.

  • $10K buy-in No Limit Hold’em Championship Main Event
  • Three starting flights: Wednesday, July 1 through Friday, July 3
  • Day 1A and 1B survivors combine on July 4, Day 1C survivors return July 5
  • All Day 2 survivors combine Monday, July 6
  • Play continues through Friday, July 10 to reach a final table of nine players
  • Final table plays July 12-14 televised on ESPN or ESPN2

Rio to Host for 16th Year

The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will again be the home of all WSOP activities in 2020. More than 500 poker tables, a kitchen, cashier cages, and information booths will take up the 200,000-square-foot space of the Rio Convention Center ballrooms.

What about the incessant rumors that persist year after year about the WSOP changing locations?

This year, that concern was more than valid, as Caesars Entertainment officially sold the Rio in September for $516 million.

In early December, Caesars and the new owner finalized the deal. Imperial Companies bought the Rio on behalf of Dreamscape Companies, owned by gaming and entertainment developer Eric Birnbaum. While the long-term future of the Rio is unclear, the next two years are a certainty. Caesars will continue to operate the property for two years and rent it for $45 million each year.

This means that the promise from WSOP VP of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky was a good one. The WSOP will stay at the Rio in 2020 and probably in 2021 as well.

The logistics of moving the games are onerous. Not only does the WSOP require more than 60 days in a space of at least 200,000 square feet, the series needs a significant amount of parking availability. And staying off the Las Vegas Strip, which can be a traffic nightmare, is preferred.

The Rio fits the bill, so no one is anxious to search for a new location yet.

Canadians Ready to Shine Again

Each year, Canadians attend the WSOP in droves.

The United States led all 2019 categories, which was geographically obvious. But Canada was second in the number of cashes and third in the amount of total earnings for the WSOP, slightly behind second-place Germany.

Canadians secured some significant wins in 2019, as Ari Engel claimed his first WSOP gold bracelet this year, and Greg Mueller won his third career bracelet.

In the 2019 WSOP Main Event, Canadians did quite well. The tournament drew 8,569 players to become the second-largest Main Event of all time, which created a prize pool of $80,548,600. As the action moved toward the last days of the tournament, ten Canadians remained at the point of the tournament when only 106 players were still in it.

When it was over, Canadian Alex Livingston finished in third place for a massive payout of $4 million.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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