One of the biggest “wins” for the WSOP this year was the $1,000 Tag-Team NL Hold’em Event. Concluding this past Friday, the event drew a massive field of 863 teams or over 2,000 participants.
The team of Doug Polk and Ryan Fee eventually took down the title but event drew a level of excitement from players that we rarely see. From all reports, the event was a huge success and one that we believe deserves to become a staple of the WSOP.
Today we will look at some of the reasons why this event works and a couple of things that officials could consider for 2017.
World Series of Successful Gimmick Tournaments
A couple of years ago, I started calling the WSOP the World Series of Gimmicks after officials started adding various gimmick events to the schedule. Originally, I was skeptical as to whether some of these events would really work but overall they have proved that they are masters at the gimmick event.
Look at the fields that the Colossus, Millionaire Maker and Crazy Eights commanded. The $565 PLO Event was the largest live PLO tournament in poker history with 2,483 entrants. WSOP officials didn’t just hop aboard the gimmick train; they held it up at gunpoint and transferred it onto their rail system.
Tag-Team Event Was Perfect Pricing Point for Everyone
One of the first things that I like about this event is that it is a $1,000 buy-in for each team. A two-player team put up $500 each. Three-player team put up $333.33 each (with someone having to pony up an extra penny), and four-player teams just had to come up with $250 each.
QOTD: which player on my WSOP tag team is most likely to bluff it all off?— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) July 6, 2016
This was the lowest buy-in event (per player) in WSOP history. If you were an amateur that couldn’t afford a $565 or higher event, just get two or three buddies together and go take your shot at WSOP glory.
Amazing Tag-Teams Formed
When this event was first announced, poker fanboys started imagining the possibilities. This event didn’t disappoint in terms of awesome teams formed. Check out just a few of the teams that were in the field:
- Team Mizrachi (Michael, Robert, Daniel and Eric)
- Antonio Esfandiari, Brian Rast and Jeff Gross
- John Gale and TJ Shulman
- Jamie Gold and Montel Williams (Playing for charity)
- Daniel Negreanu and Vanessa Selbst
- Rainer Kempe and Nicolas Fischer
- Leo Margets and Fatima Moreira de Melo
- Alex Bolotin and Todd Eugene
- Marvin Rettenmaier and Mohsin Charania
And let’s not forget that Jonathan Little and parents John and Rita made the final table in this event. While the Little parental units aren’t necessarily “superstars of poker,” it made for an awesome story and a memory that Jonathan will have for the rest of his poker career.
Team Little-Little-Little is at the official #wsop final table! We resume at noon tomorrow. We have 11 big blinds.— Jonathan Little (@JonathanLittle) July 8, 2016
Join Your Buddies and Take Over the Poker World
This format allowed players to try something that is normally against the rules in poker, team up to play a single event. If a group of two to four players tried to do this in an online event (and were caught), they would be banned from the site. It’s next to impossible to pull such a stunt off in a live event.
The Tag-Team Event allowed two to four players to get together and tag in and out as needed with a common goal of winning a bracelet. The only caveat was that each team member must play a full level during the first day of play. That simple feat can be easily accomplished in the early levels.
This event allowed for legal collusion among team members and added an extra strategy element that you don’t have in any other form of poker (at least not if everyone is playing fairly).
Event Was Well Received and Should Become Permanent Part of Series
The majority of players that commented on social media were ecstatic over the way this event unfolded. There were a few minor complaints on Day 1 but most of that was over minor issues involving confusion on how the event was to be run. This sort of thing is to be expected the first time ANY new event is run. Remember the issues last year with payouts in the Colossus? That was improved upon and this year ran much smoother. Expect much of the same for next year with this event.
And yes, I said next year. This event was so well received that I believe that it should be a permanent part of the schedule. It is a solid gimmick that I think would work well as a regular event.
Changes for 2017
There are a couple of things, I would like to see added in regards to tag-team events next year. First, you probably noticed that I said events plural. While a $1,000 buy-in event is great for all players, why not have a higher buy-in, maybe even a $10k for pros or those willing to put up $2,500 to $5,000 each.
Next, this seems like a great event for Television. Isn’t it time that we put something else on TV besides the Main Event or One Drop? TV viewers want variety, even poker fans. This would be a unique event that could draw interest from fans.
Cut an hour or two off the excessive coverage of the Main Event and give it to a Tag-Team final table. There’s only so many “lets hype this guy just to watch him bust two days before the money” stories one can stomach.
The opening bumper music would be obvious. Whoomp! by Tag Team.