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WSOP.com just completed its first Circuit series of gold-ring-eligible events. It was a resounding success by all measures, surpassing the total guarantee for the series by nearly $1 million. While this sounds like a pleasant surprise, it actually indicates the WSOP underestimated the draw of the tournaments.
For online poker operators, publishing guaranteed prize pools is mostly a marketing strategy to attract more players to the tournament. However, the size of the guarantee is a good indication of how many players the platform expects to attract.
Coming up with the size of the guarantee is a tricky process. Although larger guarantees could attract more players if the platform overestimates they could end up with an overlay. For this reason, sites like WSOP.com do their best to strike a balance between the two by setting the guarantee as close to the number of buy-ins they expect as possible.
As it turns out, the promise of a WSOP Circuit gold ring from an online event was far more appealing than the platform anticipated. The downside of a tournament series that performs better than expected is that the results may have been even higher had the marketing included higher guaranteed prize pools.
Some tournament prize pools surpassed their guarantee by over 200 percent. The only outstanding difference between these tournaments and past WSOP.com events that experienced overlays was the hardware – players appear to be drawn by the prestigious gold rings and Circuit titles.
The most successful tournament in the series was the High Roller. Excluding WSOP online bracelet events over the summer, it built a higher prize pool than any other $1,000 buy-in event in the history of the U.S. legal online poker market at $204,370.