Whatever you might want to say about the new online-only format for the World Series of Poker this year, you can’t deny that it has produced some amazing stories. Sure, maybe it’s not the traditional WSOP that we’ve come to know. But it is a fascinating event in its own right, with the kind of online poker twists and turns that might not occur if the players were confined to the poker room.
Case in point, the bracelet victory on Monday by Ryan Depaulo in the Big 500 No-Limit Hold’em event as part of the online series. Depaulo pocketed over $159,000 for his victory. And he did so all while sitting inside his car.
Depaulo added to the drama by keeping up a running commentary of his exploits on Twitter, including several posts where he worried about cops showing up and sending him packing. Nonetheless, he never did get the boot. And when he won, his screaming, cursing reaction was priceless, as customers walked by wondering what in the world was going on:
You might think based on the nature of this story that Depaulo’s win was a huge upset, that he might have been a novice of some sort intruding on the hallowed halls of the WSOP. In truth, he makes a living as a poker Vlogger and has placed in the WSOP before. (This wasn’t even his biggest purse.)
Still, the idea that he could keep his focus on the task at hand in such an extraordinary setting says something about his concentration (not to mention his multi-tasking). Coming on the heels of a bracelet win last week coming from a player’s father’s basement, Depaulo’s win seems to be part of a growing trend. And this trend is giving the World Series of Poker online its own identity of irreverence and fun, one that is demanding our attention more and more as the weeks go by.
Welcome International Players
The New York and New Jersey-based World Series of Poker events are just the tip of the iceberg. This week marks the first full week of action in the international portion of the online WSOP. It kicked off on Sunday and will continue throughout through September 6.
There will be 54 bracelets handing out in this stretch, bringing the total for the WSOP online events to 85. It’s also important to note that the international tournaments will be held at GGPoker, which can incorporate players from all over the world. The other action is already taking place at WSOP.com.
When it comes to the biggest event of the entire series, that would be the WSOP Online Main Event, which features a $5,000 buy-in and a guarantee of $25 million in prize money. That would make it the largest of all real money online poker purses in the history of the pastime.
Of course, all of this is in lieu of the postponement of the actual, live World Series of Poker. There hasn’t been any word in the past few weeks of developments considering a possible rescheduling. But as time passes, it becomes less likely that we’ll see that happen this year.
The main problem, of course, would be the magnitude of the event and the concerns related to huge crowds gathering for it. Even with many Las Vegas casinos opening up their poker rooms, they are restricted in terms of number of players at each table and number of people actually in the casino. As a result, it’s possible that the online action will have to suffice for 2020.
Of course, the World Series of Poker isn’t the only place you can get your online action. And this past week, Bovada put itself firmly in the mix of top gambling sites in terms of high-stakes tournaments. The 2020 Super Millions Open got underway this past week.
The first event was held on Friday and the action continues until August 19. There are 175 events scheduled throughout the month-long span. And there are over $9 million in guaranteed purses on the line in that stretch.
The Super Millions main event on August 16 features guaranteed purses of $500,000, which could rise even higher depending on the amount of entries and buybacks. This series just adds to what has been an incredibly busy summer for online poker.
Why Don’t They Call It Poker Island?
For those looking for some pricey real estate, you can buy Pumpkin Island, located within the Great Barrier Reef not too far from the coast Australia, for the price of 25 million Australian dollars (about $17 million USD). Its owners just announced this past week that it is up for sale. From the looks of it, Pumpkin Island is a postcard everywhere you turn, and it’s a sustainable one at that.
Once upon a time, however, you wouldn’t have needed that much dough to buy the island. You just would have just needed some good hole cards and a favorable draw.
The legend goes that the island’s one-time owner Snigger Findlay, who used it as an oyster farm, was reluctant to sell it in 1961 to Roger Mason, who was visiting with his wife and offered to buy. Mason could only convince Findlay by suggesting a game of poker. Findlay relented, Mason won (no word on the winning hand), and he bought the island lock, stock, and barrel for 60 pounds.
You often see in movies where someone puts something at stake in a poker game that normally wouldn’t be in the pot. How often that really happens is up for debate. But even the most imaginative Hollywood screenwriter might not have believed the story of how Pumpkin Island, again up for sale, originally changed hands.