celebrated its launch in Pennsylvania by announcing an exclusive online bracelet festival for players in the state. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) PA Series kicked off on August 8 and wrapped up this week, creating eight new WSOP champions. The festival was generally successful, but not without controversy.
WSOP PA Online Series Facts & Figures
The week-long series featured buy-ins of between $400 and $3,200, and ended up attracting a total of 2,126 entries to generate $1,493,610 in combined prize pools.
The festival was headlined by the $1,000 NLH PA Championship which was eventually won by Andrew “LoveToLose” Porter for $65,525 after topping a 311-entry field. Porter has had a great run at the WSOP Online Series, having also scored four cashes in the New Jersey/Nevada leg last month.
The largest tournament on the schedule was the opening event, the $500 NLH Keystone Kick Off which pulled in 425 players and 75 rebuys, creating $225,000 in total prize pool. It was won by Mark “ratrivers” Herm for $48,420.
The Philly native is one of PA’s most successful poker pros, with more than $1.7 million in live tournament earnings. Throughout his career, he has so far made four WSOP final table appearances, including a runner-up finish in a PLO event during the 2020 GGPoker WSOP Online Bracelet Series.
The only high roller tournament on the schedule, the $3,200 NLH High Roller, was taken down by Shakar “DerekHarper” Pillai for $66,541 in top prize. That victory also earned him his third WSOP gold bracelet. The tournament drew 86 entries including 20 rebuys, and awarded $261,440 in total prizes to the winners.
All of the tournaments generated six-figure prize pools, the biggest of which was generated by the $1,000 NLH Pennsylvania Championship which paid out $279,900 to players.
The other winners of the series were as follows:
Tj “POTtheRIVER” Carney (Event #2: $500 NLH PKO); Dean “TheRealYoshi” Morrow (Event #4: $400 NLH 6-Max); Nicholas “Mr.Magoo7” Lein (Event #5: $777 NLH Lucky7’s); Thong “Conngong12” Do (Event #6: $400 NLH PKO); and Michael “TonyBandanas” Lavin (Event #7: $600 NLH Monster Stack).
Controversy Haunts PA Online Bracelet Series
The PA Online Bracelet Series marks the first time that the WSOP has put together an exclusive bracelet schedule for a single state, and while it delighted local players, many have raised concerns over its potential impact on the legacy of the world’s most prestigious and longest-running poker festival.
Gold bracelets were traditionally awarded via live, in-person events, and when the WSOP began hosting online versions, the poker community was essentially divided on the idea. Now, with the WSOP deciding to run a bracelet series confined to just one state, more controversies arose.
One of them is the fact that the events would attract small fields considering that only those based in PA were allowed to take part in the series. This would result in some tournaments ending faster than they should, just like what happened in Event #5: $777 NLH Lucky 7s which only lasted for 8.5 hours.
In addition to that, the $3,200 High Roller tournament, which was supposed to be the third event on the schedule, ended up being postponed at late notice due to technical issues. This caused major hassle to players who traveled from other states just to take part in the event. The tournament attracted the smallest turnout, with just 66 unique players taking a shot.
First and Last WSOP PA Online Bracelet Series
Because of these issues, it’s highly likely that a similar series won’t take place in the future, though poker players in the Keystone state will still get the chance to compete for the highly-coveted bracelets once PA decides to participate in multi-state agreements.
Currently, WSOP/888 runs the only inter-state online poker network in the US, covering the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. That network is expected to expand soon with the potential addition of Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Meanwhile, PA players still have one major online series to look forward to this August on The Keystone Classic runs from August 22-31, featuring over $500,000 in guarantees.

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