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Over the last few years, the World Series of Poker has gone out of their way to cater to recreational players and this shift in focus has paid off huge. This year, recreational players have numerous opportunities to compete with pros to win a WSOP bracelet.

While it’s true that the pros have taken the lion’s share of bracelets over the last few years, players such as high school football coach Jeff Tomlinson have been able to pull off the occasional upset to become a world champion.

If you are an amateur player looking for the best opportunity to win a WSOP, check out our list below of the best nine events for amateurs to play at the 2016 World Series of Poker.

Colossus II

Last year, the WSOP added the $565 Colossus event to the schedule specifically with recreational players in mind. The event proved to be a smashing success with 22,374 entries collected. This year’s Colossus II boasts a guarantee of $7 million with $1 million guaranteed for first place.

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At $565, this is the cheapest path to the bracelet and a perfect price point for recreational players. Of course, you can always satellite your way in for less. Better still, this event is guaranteed to reach the money at the end of Day 1. If you come back for Day 2, you know you’re getting paid so you can focus on trying to work your way to the final table and the bracelet.

Millionaire Maker

Who wants to be a millionaire? Every poker player in existence, that’s who. While the bracelet and glory are great, there’s nothing like having a fat bank account. Amateurs playing in the Millionaire Maker have a chance to live that dream.

This year’s event no only pays $1 million to first place, but the runner-up will also walk away with a seven-figure payday. At just $1,500, you’re looking at almost a profit of nearly 667 times your initial investment. Only the Colossus and the Main Event produce a higher ROI.

$1k Top Up NL Hold’em

The $1,000 Top Up NL Hold’em event on June 5 is another great event for recreational players. Players can earn additional starting chips either by playing online at or by paying an additional $1,000 at the time of registration.

This event features 20 minute levels until level 18 and play on Day 1 is scheduled to continue until the final table is reached. For players that can only afford to come out for a couple of days, this is a great chance to win a bracelet. Two days and you’re done.

$1,500 H.O.R.S.E.

There are many recreational players that enjoy other poker variants. The $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. Event is perfect for those that loved to play games other than NL Hold’em and want to compete for a WSOP bracelet.

This is your standard H.O.R.S.E. event with 60 minute levels. The main difference between this and other similarly priced non-NL events is that this event draws more amateurs. Last year’s event drew 772 players and paid over $230k to the winner

$565 PL Omaha with Unlimited Re-Entry

If you’re an amateur player that loves PLO, this year’s WSOP has the event for you. Event #12 is the first ever $565 PL Omaha with Unlimited Re-Entry. For those that play a lot of PLO, you’re already seeing the crazy potential of this event.

With unlimited re-entry, this event essentially becomes a PLO with Re-buy, so be prepared to play this event accordingly. Be prepared to either bring multiple bullets or bring your re-buy exploiter game plan.

This is the 11 am event on June 9 and should boast a solid field. Action will be crazy in this event with the majority of the field eliminated on Day 1. Levels on Day 1 will be 30 minutes with Day 2 levels increasing to 60 minutes.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see an average of 3 bullets per player used in this event with as many as 2,500 to 3,000 total entries by the time the smoke clears.

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$1k NL with 30 Minute Levels

This event was the $1,000 Turbo NL Hold’em in 2015 won by John Gale. Starting on July 4, this year’s version features 30 minute levels throughout the event and will conclude by the end of Day 2.

This is another great event for those with a short amount of time to play at the WSOP. Also, since it starts on the 4th of July holiday, players should enjoy increased attendance and a larger prize pool.

Online NL Hold’em

This is the absolute best event for recreational players on the 2016 WSOP schedule. The event starts on July 8 and will complete on the same day. Played entirely on, this event features 15,000 in starting chips and 20 minute levels.

Last year’s event drew 905 players. With unlimited re-entry event for the first 10 levels, that total is sure to be shattered. This is the perfect storm for recreational players with a cheap pricing point, online poker play and a one-day schedule. Wake up on July 8 an everyday recreational player and go to bed that night as a WSOP champion.

$1,500 Eight-Game

Another great event for amateur players that like to play mixed games is the $1,500 Eight Game. You have your standard games that make up H.O.R.S.E. with 2-7 Triple Draw, NL Hold’em and PL Omaha added.

This event is a solid alternative for amateurs that love mixed games, don’t want to be limited to just H.O.R.S.E., but don’t want to play 19 variants of poker that makes up the Dealer’s Choice event.

WSOP Main Event

While a $10,000 buy-in event is hardly considered an “amateur level” buy-in, we’re talking the World Championship of No-Limit Hold’em here. The WSOP Main Event is the premier event for any poker player and the event that the majority of poker players dream of winning.

What are the benefits of playing the Main Event for amateurs? Here’s a few:

  • $7.5 million or more for first place
  • At least 1,000 players get paid (more to be paid if field exceeds 6,700)
  • Potential to play with elite pro players
  • Possibility of being filmed on ESPN’s World Series of Poker broadcasts.
  • Making the November Nine will make you famous

If $10,000 is too steep of a buy-in, there are plenty of satellite options. You can try to win your way in via a $565 mega-satellite or maybe step your way up through single table satellites.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a world champion? If so, this is the event to play to prove it. A great run at the right time can result in an experience of a lifetime. Even if you don’t make the November Nine, you can still scratch one more thing off your poker “bucket list.”

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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.