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Thoughts on 2020 WSOP Main Event – Will it Finish Live?

2020 WSOP Main Event

Stoyan Mandanzhiev is the 2020 WSOP Online Main Event Champion. Many of us assumed that he would be this year’s World Champion of Poker because the live WSOP wasn’t happening. Well, not so fast there. It appears the live WSOP is happening, somewhat.

The World Series of Poker announced on Friday that the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event is happening. It will play out in December with most of the event happening online. The final tables and ultimate battle for the bracelet will be in live venues – at least that’s the plan. Today, I’ll give you my opinion on this event and whether a live finale will happen.

Main Event to Be Hybrid Online-Live Event

In case you haven’t already heard, the 2020 WSOP Main Event will be played as a hybrid online poker – live poker tournament. Players can compete on either or GGPoker. is for US players primarily and GGPoker for international players. You cannot play on both.

The event is a freezeout tournament with three starting flights on GGPoker and one on On GGPoker, the starting flights are November 29th, December 5th, and December 6th. The starting flight on is December 13th.

At, Day 2 will play out on December 14th and play to a final table. Over at GGPoker, Day 2 is on December 7th and will play to a final table. This is where the online portion of the event ends.

The final tables for both legs will be played live. For the GGPoker leg, the final table will be on December 15th at King’s Casino Rozvadov. The final table will play out at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on December 28th.

Both final tables will play to a winner and everyone will be paid out. The two winners will then battle it out at the Rio in Las Vegas on December 30th to crown a World Champion of Poker. The winner will get a WSOP Championship bracelet along with a $1 million prize.

American Pros Will Likely Target

If I were an American poker pro looking to win the WSOP Main Event, the easiest path would be going through It is likely that the field for the Main Event will be somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 players. While still a formidable field, it is easier to navigate than the likely field of 3,500 players or more at GGPoker.

It is possible that I am severely underestimating the field size, and that would be great for poker. However, the leg will be smaller and will present the best chance for an American poker pro to win the Main Event.

It is Unlikely the Live Version of This Event Will Happen

While I appreciate the news that we will have a World Champion of Poker for 2020, I do not see the live version of this event playing out. With the global rise of coronavirus cases and some countries already beginning new restrictions or lockdowns, it is a matter of time before the same happens in the United States and Rozvadov.

I predict that the United States will be locking down by the end of November or early December. As such, I don’t see the Las Vegas portion happening. If a live version happens, it will have to be in a location that isn’t locked down. Now the WSOP is putting language in its announcement that will allow for this, but they also reserve the right to hold the rest of the event online.

What I see happening is this event playing out online and likely streamed live by PokerGo. There is just too much uncertainty regarding the pandemic to realistically believe this will play out live. I hope that I am wrong as it will be nice to see a live WSOP Main Event Champion crowned. However, I don’t think that’s happening this year.

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