There is a new place in the Guinness World Records for online poker after officials had declared a new record prize pool for an online poker tournament.
With almost all poker activities shifting towards the online realm in 2020, this development doesn't come as a huge surprise. However, it's still a big win for the operator behind it.
Those who have been keeping up with internet poker in recent years won't be shocked to hear that the operator taking the accolade was GGPoker.
GGPoker has become one of the largest poker operators worldwide, coming neck to neck with the industry giant, PokerStars.
The new record came as a result of the very successful cooperation between the room and the World Series of Poker.
The First WSOP Online Main Event Shatters Expectations
GGPoker took on a big responsibility to host the very first World Series of Poker, taking place fully in the online environment.
It was an attractive challenge but a challenge, nonetheless, as it was hard to predict how players would react to the idea.
In the end, everything turned out better than expected.
Players from all over the world gathered to try their hand at winning a coveted WSOP bracelet from the comfort of their homes, with many new players taking advantage of the GGPoker bonus code to boost their initial deposit.
Of course, it was Event 77, dubbed the Main Event, which attracted the most attention.
Featuring a buy-in of $5,000, the tournament gathered a total of 5,802 entries and generated a prize pool of exactly $27,559,500.
This was enough to set the new Guinness World Record for the biggest prize pool featured in an online poker tournament.
The Main Event Winner Bags Just Shy of $4 Million
In total, the tournament took just over 150 hours from start to finish, with multiple Day 1s happening throughout the second half of August.
On September 6, 2020, the final few tables came together to determine the winner who'd take home $3.9 million.
When it was all said and done, it was Bulgaria's Stoyan Madanzhiev who claimed the prestigious title and the amazing amount of money, having outlasted every single other player in the field.
All of the 728 players who made it past the bubble walked away with at least $11,834 for their efforts.
But, there is a twist.
Although Madanzhiev was presented as the WSOP Main Event winner, it seems now that GGPoker and World Series officials have changed their minds.
Pretty much out of nowhere, a brand new WSOP Main Event was announced, this one featuring the buy-in of $10,000 and planning to have a live final table in Rozvadov.
The “new” Main Event has played down to the final table, which should take place on December 15. However, it came nowhere close to the original one in terms of numbers, gathering only 674 entries and generating the prize pool of $6,470,400.
Daniel Negreanu Accepts the Honors
Coming back to the main topic, breaking the Guinness record for the largest prize pool in online poker history was a pretty big deal for GGPoker.
The room entrusted Daniel Negreanu, their number one ambassador, to accept the honor from the hands of Michael Empric, official Guinness World Record adjudicator.
Although the online WSOP was a bit of a gamble, GGPoker officials explained this was one of the things they were aiming for right from the start.
In the words of Steve Preiss, the room's Head of Operations, players expect record-breaking prize pools from GGPoker and the WSOP, and they were happy to deliver.
The achievement also serves as an indicator of what can happen when two popular brands put their efforts together and come up with something their consumers, which would be poker players in this particular case, really want.
Will There Be Another Online Main Event?
The huge success of the first online Main Event naturally begs the question if this is something we can expect to see in the future?
Provided things go back to normal and the 2021 WSOP is back home at the Rio, will there be an incentive for an online Main Event?
There are two sides of the argument here, both worth considering.
Having the ability to play their tournament poker hands in the live setting, many players will likely rather focus on live events, decreasing the number of those participating in the online arena.
At the same time, this year's online tournament likely attracted some of those who'd never consider traveling to Las Vegas.
It's a very interesting dilemma and the one that WSOP organizers will need to figure out in the upcoming months.
Perhaps a good solution would be staging two separate events, one online and one live, a few months apart.
In that case, though, the question becomes which one is the real one. And, if there are “special” bracelets for the online event, will they be as attractive as the “real” ones?
The fact of the matter is that poker constantly changes and evolves. Having a large portion of the WSOP take place online would be against the tradition, but it's hardly a shocking idea.
At this point, all we can do is sit and wait to see what the powers to be in the poker world decide to do.
Perhaps those coveted WSOP bracelets will become much more accessible in the years to come, and people from all over the world will have their shot at one.
But, should that happen, will these golden trinkets remain as prestigious and as desirable as they are today?