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Does WSOP's Canadian Expansion Mean Bracelets in Ontario?

an ornate background with a cell phone showing the WSOP app, on top of it is a WSOP gold bracelet. On the left is a canadian maple leaf with the WSOP.CA logo on it. in the middle is a question mark because we don't know for sure about ontario bracelets. an ornate background with a cell phone showing the WSOP app, on top of it is a WSOP gold bracelet. On the left is a canadian maple leaf with the WSOP.CA logo on it. in the middle is a question mark because we don't know for sure about ontario bracelets.

While the World Series of Poker (WSOP) came to prominence as the biggest live poker festival in the world, the rise of online poker amid recent pandemic restrictions has brought the subject of online bracelets to the forefront. As online bracelet events have expanded recently onto WSOP PA, the announcement of WSOP’s launch in the new Ontario online poker market is sparking predictions regarding an Ontario-only bracelet series in 2022.

In 2016, WSOP started awarding online bracelets through its WSOP NV client while the main series was playing out live in Las Vegas. Those annual online bracelets expanded to include New Jersey and Delaware residents in 2018 when WSOP.com created the first multi-state player pool in the US.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought online bracelets into sharp focus, as the entire 2020 WSOP (with the exception of a single live Main Event at the end of the year) was held online, split between GGPoker for the international audience, and WSOP.com in the United States. When WSOP PA opened for business in 2021, the operator immediately threw a WSOP PA bracelet series.

The next frontier for WSOP looks to be the newly regulated market for iGaming in Ontario, which kicks off a new era of gaming on April 4. The operator announced its intentions to get into the Canadian game with WSOP ON running on software provided by international partner GGPoker.

While there has been no official announcement made about planned events for Ontario, the experience of PA online poker players presents the tantalizing prospect of a 2022 bracelet series exclusive to WSOP Ontario. In PA, one of the first events out of the gate after WSOP PA was up and running was an eight-event bracelet series exclusive to the state, so it seems likely that a similar, Ontario-specific series will be one of the first bif events out of the gate for WSOP ON as well.

Structure of a WSOP Ontario Bracelet Series

Given how quickly WSOP PA moved to award bracelets in the Keystone State, it seems almost certain that one of the first things on the mind of a new WSOP Ontario site will be bracelets. The two markets are remarkably similar, despite different national governments, with Ontario actually coming in a bit bigger than PA in terms of population.

Online poker in PA serves a population of about 13 million people, but the reach of the new Ontario regulatory structure is about 15 million people. Given the slightly larger market in Ontario, it seems like any Ontario-only series would resemble what WSOP PA did in 2021.

While 2020 and 2021 saw full 30-event Bracelet series on the WSOP/888 NJ/NV/DE network, the series for Pennsylvania in 2021 was more modest. In August, the operator ran an eight-event bracelet series, then added another PA-specific bracelet event during the live series later in the year for a total of nine bracelets awarded to PA online poker players in 2021. Another {eight-game bracelet series was added for WSOP PA in 2022.

That would appear to be a likely format for WSOP.ca in 2022, with a small eight-game series awarding Canada-only bracelets for the very first time. In general, WSOP does not put guarantees on bracelet events and it is unlikely to change that strategy for an Ontario series.

While the games would be in Canadian dollars instead of US dollars, it seems likely that an Ontario-specific series would be very similar to the planned structure for WSOP PA.

WSOP 2022 Online Bracelet Schedule (Pennsylvania)

Date Buy-in Tournament Structure
Sunday, June 5 $500 NLH BIG $500 3x Re-Entry
Sunday, June 12 $400 NLH Ultra Deepstack 2x Re-Entry
Sunday, June 19 $500 PLO 6-Max 3x Re-Entry
Sunday, June 26 $600 NLH Online Deepstack Championship 2x Re-Entry
Sunday, July 3 $500 NLH Deepstack 2x Re-Entry
Sunday, July 10 $1,000 NLH Online Bracelet Championship 2x Re-Entry
Saturday, July 16 $777 NLH Lucky 7’s Second Chance 3x Re-Entry
Sunday, July 17 $500 NLH Summer Saver 3x Re-Entry

WSOP Online Circuit Moves North

While Gold Bracelets are the big prize from the WSOP, Circuit Rings are also coveted bling that players can only get from WSOP events. The WSOP recently ran a live Circuit event in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that set local records for field sizes and prize pools, and the operator plans to return to the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in May 2022 for a second go-round, but there has never been an Online Circuit ring event in Canada.

That is another thing that is likely to change when WSOP Ontario opens its doors sometime in 2022 — Ontario will almost certainly get an Online Circuit series. The PA market has been great for the Circuit events, with a series in early 2022 guaranteeing around $500,000 but collecting more than $800,000 in prizes.

It seems likely that an Ontario Online Circuit could do at least that well, given its slightly larger population. Add in the hunger for Circuit Rings in Canada shown by the huge results at the recent live event in Calgary and it looks like a perfect recipe for huge Online Circuit and Bracelet events in Ontario shortly after the new market opens.