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The schedule for the 2017 World Series of Poker was released last week and poker players around the world are busy making plans, lining up backers and dreaming about what they will do with their newfound winnings.

Looking over the schedule, officials have once again put forth a solid offering of poker events spanning the broad spectrum of poker variants. I’d like to say it is a perfect schedule, but then nobody would bother to read any further.

The truth is that there are a lot of positives to this schedule but a couple of other things that are leaving some scratching their heads.

Why is the Ladies Event Not a Re-Entry Event?

Going through the schedule, there are 14 events this year offering re-entry. That’s up from 10 re-entry events last year. The online events were going to be re-entry so that’s not a surprise. The “Giant” is the other new event with reentry.

The other two events that now feature re-entry but did not last year are the Seniors and Super Seniors. One thing I find interesting is that the Employee, Seniors and Super Seniors Event all now feature a single re-entry but the Ladies Championship does not.

What happened there? Why have a single re-entry for the other non-open field events but not the Ladies Championship. Do they feel that Ladies will not re-enter with the same frequency as Employees or Seniors?

The WSOP is all about setting records and boosting attendance. Clearly they are trying to do this with the other non-open events, so why the decision not to make the Ladies Championship a single-reentry?

Expansion of Online Events Was a No-Brainer

Something that I have advocated for since the inception of online bracelet events was an expansion. Back in December, I predicted three events this year with one being a high roller event.

The following are the events:

  • Event #8 – $333 NL Hold’em with a $333,333 guarantee
  • Event #61 – $3,333 High Roller NL Hold’em
  • Event #71 – $1,000 NL Hold’em

While I am not exactly fond of the $333 pricing point, I am happy to see that there are three events online. I would still have liked to have seen some type of online mixed event but for now, we should be happy to have an expansion.

Depending on the success of these events, we could see further expansion in 2018 but it’s too early to make that call.

Tag Team and PLO8 Get a $10k – Still No Standalone Badugi

Due to the success of the $1,500 Tag Team NL in 2016, I completely expected the event to return this year. I was pleasantly surprised to see a $10k version of the event added to the schedule.

This pricing point will give us some stronger teams and more potential “dream team” pairings. A $1,500 and $10k are perfect pricing points and something that shouldn’t need tinkering provided the $10k draws respectable numbers.

With the growth in popularity with PL Omaha Hi-Lo, it was just a matter of time before it would get its own $10k Championship event on the schedule. This is another example of how online poker has influenced the live game and in a good way.

One event that is still noticeably absent from the schedule is a standalone Badugi event. It has been featured in mixed game tournaments at the WSOP for years but has yet to get its own event. By now, I would have assumed they would have tried a $1,500 Badugi event, but it has yet to happen.

I’d also like to see a PL or NL 5 Card Draw event but I can see how that may not draw that strongly but I think that Badugi would draw well enough to warrant at least one event. I guess it is not gimmicky enough.

One Gimmick Too Many?

In the past, I’ve been an advocate of the gimmick events put forth by the WSOP but when I looked at this year’s schedule, I rolled my eyes when I saw one particular event. THE GIANT is a $365 NL Event that has five starting flights over five weeks. In addition, each flight has unlimited re-entry.

This event is similar to some of the events at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles with multiple starting flights over a couple of weeks. The difference is that they have multiple starting flights daily instead of once per week.

There are players that love this type of event because you can make the money every Day 1 that you enter, but I am not a fan of this event. Events like The Colossus or the Millionaire Maker that have two or three consecutive starting days with multiple flights are one thing but stretching that out over weeks or event months is a bit too much for my personal tastes.

This event seems like a complete crapshoot and it is hard to see very many pros taking this event seriously. That’s not to say some won’t go deep but I can see some approaching this event like the weekend warrior that plays in a $40 with re-buy event after having a couple too many to drink.

This WSOP Will “Set Records” But It’s Hard Not to With This Schedule

Since Black Friday, WSOP officials have been experts at setting up the schedule in such a way to guarantee growth year-over-year. That tradition continues but at this point one has to wonder how much true growth we are seeing in the game.

The gimmick events like the Colossus, Millionaire Maker and THE GIANT are going to help inflate numbers where the event will set records. We can go ahead and make that call now.

But outside of the gimmicks, how will the rest of the series fare? Some of the legacy events have struggled in recent years and it will be interesting to see how the non-gimmick events far.

If we see solid numbers in the legacy events couple with at least some growth, then we can sit back and say that officials have done a great job at growing the event.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.