The WSOP 2015 saw the very first online poker tournament mixed in with the schedule and Event 64, won by Anthony Spinella was a 3 day No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament that attracted 905 players to the virtual felt, and it’s set to become a regular WSOP bracelet event....so it seems.
WSOP spokesperson Seth Palansky while speaking to Gambling 911 stated that "We haven't made any decisions yet regarding the 2016 schedule, but if I were a betting man, I would venture that an online bracelet would indeed be part of any future World Series of Poker." Due to legal concerns the WSOP has in the past always shied away from the online poker scene, however now that it’s fully regulated in the state of Nevada that picture had changed, and about time too.
Regarding that first online event Palansky said that, “It ran very smoothly, attendance was great. Getting people registered, deposited and withdrawn was seamless. So we're very pleased with the inaugural iteration." Spinella won $197,743 when taking that first online WSOP bracelet but we have a feeling that the WSOP 2016 event will be a whole lot bigger and the mixed format was something that worked well, with the final 6 players all making their way to the Rio Hotel and Casino to finish the tournament off.
All 905 players in the initial event were however from Nevada and maybe that’s something that needs to be addressed if this particular event is to see some growth, maybe next year players from New Jersey and Delaware can get involved? That’s something for the WSOP to work out, but with a little tweaking the online event could become a great feature of the WSOP Las Vegas festival of poker.