Last week, I wrote a piece about five poker variants that deserve their own WSOP events. The WSOP has prided itself for offering a wide variety of poker variants but there are still several popular games that officials have yet to offer as solo events.
One colleague has suggested that lack of interest may be to blame despite there being a huge following for these games, especially online. What is apparent by looking over the schedule is that there’s still room for improvement.
More Diversity Needed Still
When looking at the schedule, one will notice that half of the events are solely Hold’em, with all but three NL Hold’em. On the surface, many would think that this is a reasonable spread with half of the events Hold’em and the other half other poker variants or mixed events.
Looking a bit closer at the schedule, there’s still room for a bit more diversity. On this year’s schedule, there are 26 events that could be considered “full ring” events, and that’s not including the online events. While there’s some variety such as “Turbo” or “Bounty” events, they are still full ring NL Hold’em tournaments.
While the typical argument is “NL is the game everyone wants to play,” a series that is all about diversity in poker is noticeably top heavy in one style of Hold’em.
One could also argue against the popularity of full ring tournaments. Every summer we see numerous complaints about events playing nine or sometimes ten handed with some rather watching paint dry than play a full ring event.
Hold’em is always going to be the cash cow, but you could shave off a mere five events from the ring game schedule for other variants and still have plenty of options for NL lovers.
The Interest is There – Just Not “Record Setting” Interest
Craig Klinski of PartTimePoker.com linked to my recent article on Friday and commented that some games might not be on the schedule due to “lack of interest.” If this were 2005, he would definitely have a point.
However, online poker has drastically changed the landscape for poker in general. The $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship and other mixed events are a direct result of the growth of mixed games online. PL Omaha Hi-Lo is getting a $10k this year and that would never have happened if the game hadn’t exploded in popularity online.
While some of my other recommendations may not have the same following as PLO8, that’s not to say that there isn’t enough interest to hold an event. The question is whether it will have enough interest to satisfy WSOP officials.
The WSOP is always looking to set records and increase attendance. Certain games, such as Badugi, aren’t exactly games that are going to draw in recreational players. They would much rather gamble (and I mean gamble) on a $365 event with 30,000 players.
There’s a reason some of these events are called lottery events, and not just for the potential for life changing money. Events like Badugi are never going to rise to that level.
Will it Matter Once the WSOP Expands to 100 Events?
Back in December I wrote about five things that I would like to see happen in poker in 2017. One of those was a reduction in WSOP events. Instead of a reduction, we saw the schedule grow by five events.
For the first time in history, there are 74 WSOP bracelet events in Las Vegas. That’s more than double the number of events in 2003. There were only 60 events in Vegas just five years ago.
At the present rate of growth, the WSOP will surpass 100 bracelet events somewhere between 2025 and 2027. That’s not including any international events.
Perhaps by the time the WSOP reaches 100 bracelets each year we can get some of the other poker variants I’ve advocated for added to the schedule. Either that or we will get five 30-day $50 buy-in quantum reload events with unlimited re-entry.