The annual World Series of Poker will hold its 46th edition this summer and as thousands of players get ready for the trip to Las Vegas, we will take a look at the series from different angles to point out the biggest changes and the most anticipated events. The action starts on May 27th and will conclude in first part on July14, when the final 9 players of the Main Event are scheduled to be determined.
It will be the biggest poker series of the year and most of the established poker pros will be there to further improve their portfolios while amateurs from around the world will look to take them down and get their names into the poker history books, along with the bracelets and the big prizes.
There will be a total of 68 bracelet events this year, culminating of course with the $10,000 Main Event. Like in previous years, the action will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, or more accurately in Paradise, Nevada.
A Quick Look at the Schedule
The 68 events will cover a variety of tournament formats and game variants so players will be able to show off their skills on multiple occasions for their favorite one. The schedule starts with the Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em, where all employees from the casino industry in Las Vegas and from around the world are given the chance to buy-in for just $565 and compete in a 2 day event.
On the same day, the first open event will be a No-Limit Hold’em tournament with a buy-in of $5,000 to really get the action going. Needless to say that no-limit Texas hold’em events continue to be the most popular but the World Series of Poker schedule continues to show more and more focus on other formats and make sure it really captures the entire concept of the game from around the world. Also in this regard, buy-ins directly for the events will range from $565 to $111,111, with some of the tournaments being designed especially for certain groups of players, like women or seniors.
To make the events even more accessible for players, there will be satellites taking place at the location and on the internet. While WSOP also launched an online poker room in the regulated markets of Nevada and New Jersey, it is not the only place where online players can win entries for the big events by clicking on the right options from home. The Main Even of course gets most of the action in this regard, with some major poker sites offering entire packages to winners that will not only cover the large buy-in for the exclusive event, but will also provide hotel accommodations for the duration of the tournament.
The Biggest Improvements
Caesars, the company that owns the WSOP brand, has been looking to make improvements to the biggest poker series every year and 2015 is no exception. As soon as the schedule was released, a lot of people got excited to see the improvements made to the series and it is already considered as being the best one in recent years.
68 events will feature 11 new formats to the already varied schedule and even the Executive Director of the WSOP has said that this is the year players should really come down to Las Vegas and take part in the World Series of Poker. In short, this year should be the most memorable series in recent history and it should establish this fact by breaking several records.
For starters, it has already begun breaking records even if the cards haven’t even been shuffled yet. 68 events are more than any of the previous seasons in the 46 years the World Series of Poker has been held. The changes then continue with the 11 different formats we mentioned and various changes made to make it easier for the customers to enjoy their time as they are part of history.
Just two days after the start of the series, a new event that is expected to destroy all attendance records for a poker tournament will be held. We are talking of course about Event #5, known as THE COLOSSUS. The key factor that makes this event so special is that it has the lowest buy-in of the season and at $565 with a bracelet for the winner, this no-limit hold’em tournament should easily fill the tables and force the casino to bring out more. Caesars has put up a guaranteed prize pool of $5,000,000 so basically every poker player with the chance to take a seat in Las Vegas will be heading to the Rio for a chance to win.
There will be five starting days for The Colossus and players eliminated in the first of them can re-enter in the next ones.
And since we are talking about affordable poker tournaments, we should also mention that there is another event with a buy-in of under $1,000. This is #66, the Lucky Sevens NLHE that has an entry of $777 and should attract quite a few players to the tables.
A very important change that will affect all tournaments is the increase in the number of chips. In order to provide players with a bigger stack to rely less on luck and taking risks, the number of big blinds will increase. All the tournaments with buy-ins of $1,000 or smaller will have starting stacks of 100 big blinds. Those that require $1,500 for a seat will offer 150BB, $2,500 events will have 167BB and $3,000 events will get players started with 200 big blinds. For 250BB as a starting stack, players can take part in events with buy-ins of $5,000.
Mixing it up with online poker
It is quite clear that the WSOP.com online poker room will be marketed significantly during the action in Las Vegas but the series also shows that live tournaments and online poker can no longer go their separate ways. The two must work together for the growth of the industry and in addition to players now having to sign-up on the official website, the 2015 WSOP schedule also comes with an online poker tournament that will award a bracelet to the winner.
Event #64 will start on July 2nd and it is a $1,000 NLHE tournament that will take place online, on the virtual tables of the WSOP.com poker room. Players located in Nevada will be able to open an account and pay the buy-in for a seat in the first ever online poker tournament to award a gold bracelet. As a result, it is expected that a lot of players will pony up the sum and be part of the action.
The tournament will be paused when the final six players are determined and then resume on July 4th, when the final table will be played live in the Amazon Room. This might make it a semi-online event but it is still a big step towards the internet and the newly regulated online poker markets in the US. July 3rd is a free day in order to accommodate players from the state to make their way to Las Vegas if they reach the final table, while those already in Sin City can use this time to relax or practice on their live tournament play since there are quite a few differences in styles from playing at home.
Having an online tournament of this size with no satellites is almost impossible so WSOP.com is already running smaller tournaments which award entries for the bracelet event as the top prizes.
Events to look out for
In addition to the event we mentioned so far, there are a few more that can attract some attention from the fields due to their special features. One of them is the Extended Play tournament that comes with a buy-in of $1,500 and levels that last 90 minutes each. It is of course a NLHE tournament and should eliminate most of the pressure off the players given the fact that the blinds will increase at a slower rate.
On the other side of the spectrum we find the turbo events. Although the first bracelet turbo event was added to the WSOP scheduled back in 2013 and there has been one in 2014 as well, this year comes with two more, one of them being a $1,000 Hyper event that will have levels of just 20 minutes during regular play and 30 minutes for the final table.
Since poker is a game for ages of 21 and up in Las Vegas, seniors have always been respected for their knowledge and experience. This year adds an additional special event for the poker players categorized as seniors. The first is of course the regular Seniors Championship in which players must have at least 50 years of age to buy a seat. The new one is called Super Seniors and the minimum age has been increased to 65.
Another first this year is the sponsored individual event from DraftKings that will pay half of the field. This is a $1,500 bracelet event called DraftKings 50/50, although there is still some information missing on how the payout will escalate after making it into the money.
Sadly, the Big One for One Drop tournament will not be coming back this year so players looking to put up a cool million dollars for a seat in a special tournament will have to settle for something a bit smaller. The $111,111 High Roller for One Drop will make its return to the WSOP schedule after it was first introduced in 2013. The charitable part of the event makes it a fan favorite and it is also the event with the biggest buy-in during the World Series of Poker this year.
The $10,000 Main Event
When it comes to the World Series of Poker, there is one event that stands out far above the rest – the Main Event. With a buy-in of $10,000 this is the annual tournament that everyone should look forward to playing and if they can’t afford it, watch the action on ESPN. It is the poker tournament that can turn regular people into poker legends and it comes with the first place prize that can easily change lives.
It is safe to say that World Series of Poker Main Even is actually the greatest poker tournament. However, with its major title also comes a lot of responsibility and the number of players taking part in this event often times represents a perfect indication of how the poker landscape is performing in the respective year.
There are certainly some big shoes to fill this year after the 2014 WSOP Main Event had 6,683 entries, representing a nice increase from the 6,352 entries in the previous year. Last year also came with a guarantee that the winner would get $10,000,000. This raised some concerns since it meant that the payout structure would be too top heavy if the targeted prize pool wasn’t reached.
With those concerns in mind, the WSOP this year comes with another special feature for the Main Event. It will guarantee that at least the top 1,000 players will make it into the money if there are at least 5,000 entries. Paying 20% of the field is great for attracting amateur players who dear not dream of the diamond bracelet but have hopes of at least walking away with a prize. Compared to last year, this would be almost double as many players getting paid. However, on a similar pool of players, the number only increases by 300 something.
Another change to the structure is that the November Nine, the nine players to make the final table, will each receive $1 million before they come back in November to determine the winner and who gets more money. The result will probably mean a smaller first place prize than a regular Main Event from the previous years, given the same number of players, but this should actually make it more appealing to more players.