If you spent any time on social media over the weekend you will have seen that a lot of people are not happy about the hybrid live and online World Series of Poker Main Event announced on Friday. The majority of the criticism is the fact that players will have to travel during a pandemic with lockdowns in place all over the world.
A second debate is raging about what this means for Stoyan Madanzhiev the winner of the $5,000 Main Event during the online World Series of Poker at GGPoker in September. At the time whether he was the ‘real’ Main Event champion was debated and here we are once again.
The consensus seems to be that he is the reigning World Series of Poker Main Event and he is getting unfairly treated by this announcement that would crown a new Main Event champion in 2020. Indeed the man himself took to Twitter to point out that his bracelet presentation from the WSOP referred to him as the 51st World Series of Poker Main Event champion:
So if I won the “51st Annual World Series of Poker Main Event” What will the December one be?
Just wondering ?#wsop pic.twitter.com/6hhk20pdVZ
— Stoyan Madanzhiev (@Stoyan_Mad) November 14, 2020
One person saying otherwise is Daniel Negreanu who (despite having signed the above document) argued that it was niche Main Event like the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event:
I’ve had a consistent position on it from day one but you want me to lie now?
It was a $5k. It had reentry.
It was purposely NOT a $10k freezeout because there was hope of holding the world championship in the fall.
It’s just the truth pal ?♂️
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 16, 2020
Very few people agreed with him but Nick Jones pointed out that most of the marketing messages leading up to the online WSOP and afterwards did state that a live WSOP Main Event was planned for the end of the year:
Hmm. I see the confusion, but WSOP always said that the “proper” series was postponed not canceled (nor replaced with an online-only version); that they hoped to run the series in the fall. These quotes are from the PR in April.
Generally just trying to understand your POV here. pic.twitter.com/XzhIKVftEm
— Nick Jones (@pokerprojones) November 16, 2020
The debate will rage on and the next couple of months are going to be very interesting to see if the WSOP can pull off a Main Event that looks and feels like the ones we are used to every year. That will probably be the telling factor on whether we conclude if Stoyan Madanzhiev or somebody else is the player we call champ as we head in to 2021.
Perhaps the best way to clear up the debate is this suggestion from Joe Ingram, who returned to Twitter last week:
I think Stoyan should get to play a 3 handed match with the winners from the US and GG events if they plan to continue with another WSOP “Main Event” @WSOP https://t.co/1R7JyWLI4Q
— Joey Ingram #passion (@Joeingram1) November 15, 2020