In case you missed it, the World Series of Europe has a new home. The 2017 WSOP-E will be played at the King’s Casino Rozvadov in the Czech Republic.
This year’s series is a joint effort between the WSOP and King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik. Both hope that this year’s event is the start of a beautiful partnership that will grow the WSOP brand and poker as a whole in Europe.
WSOP officials are all-in on this venue, as well they should be. After multiple poor performances by the event in recent years, the series needs a big win in order to justify its continued existence.
€20 Million in Guarantees and Gimmick Events Rock the Schedule
When looking at the WSOP Europe schedule, two things jump out. First, there are €20 million in guarantees this year and several popular gimmick events bolster the schedule.
The €1,100 Monster Stack and the €550 Colossus are the two biggest events on the schedule in terms of field size. The Monster Stack will have 3 starting flights while the Colossus will feature 10. Also, one entry is permitted each flight for the Colossus, meaning that the event will easily shatter the all-time WSOP-E single event attendance record.
Two One Drop Events are on the schedule with the €1,100 Little One and the €111,111 High Roller. The One Drop High Roller has a €10 million guarantee.
There’s also a €25k High Roller Re-Entry event on the schedule, sure to be popular with the pros.
This year’s WSOP-E Main Event has a €4 million guarantee, has two starting flights, and offers a single re-entry. On paper, there should be no way that this event doesn’t shatter the 2011 record for most European Main Event entries.
With the exception of the High Roller events and the Main Event, the other bracelet events range in buy-ins from €550 to €2,200. This will make it incredibly affordable to those going to the event.
First the Ring, Then the Bracelet – Literally
Prior to the start of the 2017 WSOP Europe, a WSOP Circuit event will run at King’s Casino. The event kicks off on September 28th and concludes on October 19th. This creates a six-week WSOP Festival, the first of its kind in Europe.
If this were in the U.S., it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. There are plenty of WSOP-C events around the country and those leading up to the WSOP in Las Vegas are merely a warm-up at best for players.
Things are different in Europe. While the WSOP-C has expanded internationally, it still isn’t as popular as the U.S. version, at least not yet. In addition, a WSOP-C series leading up to the WSOP Europe is a great idea on multiple fronts.
First, it gives the WSOP a long-term prescience in one spot as they have with Vegas summer series. Next, it gives players a shot to build up to a chance to compete for a WSOP gold bracelet.
The ring events and subsequent side tournaments are not only a “warm-up” but also serve as a bankroll builder for players. A final table in a ring event will give one at least a couple of event buy-ins. Taking down an event might fund ones entire WSOP Europe depending on their schedule.
I’m personally anticipating a player completing the WSOP-C motto of “First the Ring, Then the Bracelet.” As we all know, players go on hot streaks and it is not unreasonable to expect a WSOP-C ring event winner to parlay that victory into a WSOP Europe bracelet title. Such a run would be the perfect story for the series.
This Event May Be the WSOP Europe’s “One Time!”
This is the 10-Year Anniversary of the inaugural WSOP Europe and the 9th series overall. Starting in 2013, the event went on a bi-annual rotation with the WSOP APAC. At least that was the theory. The APAC didn’t run last year.
While a bold endeavor, the event has struggled to gain the same popularity as the U.S. counterpart despite having some big names take down championship gold in the past. The move to the King’s Casino is more than just a smart business decision, it may be the perfect move needed to keep the tour going.
After record attendance in 2011, the WSOP Europe Main Event has seen sliding attendance every year since. The 2015 series only drew 4,877 total entries between 10 events. Take out the Monster Stack and the Oktoberfest events and that number drops by over half.
The move to King’s Casino should guarantee an increase in attendance. With the WSOP-C acting as a feeder to the series, healthy jumps in attendance should be a no-brainer. With that said, the event would almost certainly have to shatter attendance records to truly consider it a success.
In the years following Black Friday, WSOP officials setup the Vegas schedule in such a way as to boost attendance and that move along with other groundbreaking innovations helped the event to explode in popularity.
Looking at the schedule, they have put the pieces in place to experience the same type of growth at the WSOP Europe. This may truly be the WSOP Europe’s “One Time” moment.