The schedule for the 2016 World Series of Poker is out and there are a ton of positive changes in store for the summer poker extravaganza. Whether you’re an amateur player or a seasoned pro looking for your first major title, there’s something for you on this year’s schedule.
Today, we take a quick look at this year’s schedule and discuss some of the awesome changes coming up this summer. We also look at some of the returning events and some of the stories worth following this summer.
Pay That Player Their Money!!!
One of the best changes on the schedule, at least if you’re an amateur player, is the shift of payouts from 10% to 15% of the field. That’s an extra 50 players per 1,000 that will receive a payday in WSOP bracelet events this summer.
Some pro players and purists are not going to like this move, and I completely understand your point of view. However, I have also been that first year amateur player that was looking for their first WSOP cash.
Opening up the payouts will allow more players to reach that goal of their first WSOP cash. Also, we can also get back to making the money on Day 1 of many events. There are few more annoying things than coming back on Day 2 of an event as the short stack and not being close to the money. Sure you might rebound, but when you don’t you feel like you have wasted a playing day.
For some players, just cashing in a WSOP is enough to validate their playing careers. They aren’t looking to become a pro and for some this may be their only chance at playing in a WSOP event. Opening up the payouts by 5% gives more players a chance to walk away from a WSOP event with more than just “a story.”
Tag Team Event and Low Buy-In PLO Among Best of New Events
This year’s schedule boasts eight new bracelet events, including the return of the Team Event. Event #12, the $565 PL Omaha with Re-Entry Event, will be among the most popular of these new events. While there will be those that come out for the Mixed Triple Draw and Mixed Omaha, the $565 PLO has the potential to have the best participation.
Why? Because this PLO Re-Entry is as close to a PLO with Re-buy that you’re going to get at the WSOP. PLO players love to gamble it up and you can expect many players to bring at least four bullets to play in this event. Action is going to be insane during the registration period and I already feel a bit sorry for officials that have process the Re-Entries. I’m just going to start calling this the $565 PLO Pseudo-Rebuy now.
You’ve got to give WSOP officials credit – they sure know how to take advantage of trends. The Global Poker League is creating a buzz around the world with their Team Poker concept and the WSOP is creating their own bandwagon. As such, we see the return of the Team Event to the WSOP. The $1,000 Tag-Team NL Hold’em Event is going to be one of the more popular events among players, especially pros, and allows for the rest of the world to get their feet wet with live Team Poker.
Only player playing allowed inside ropes. All others remain outside ropes until tapped in 1 player to hand all times https://t.co/rcq0buRukP— WSOP (@WSOP) February 25, 2016
There’s some potential for some stellar tag teams for this event and you don’t have to sit through a marathon draft session to find out who will play. A pairing I would love to see is Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth. Imagine the rail those matches would command and the media buzz behind that team making the finals.
That’s just considering the two player teams. Team can be up to four players. Imagine the possibilities. Personally, I would love to see this as a televised event instead of the overkill that is the early day coverage of the WSOP Main Event.
WSOP Wisely Continues Colossus, Milly Maker and Super Seniors
A couple of years ago, the World Series of Poker made me a believer in gimmick tournaments when they are done right and nobody does gimmick events better than the WSOP. This year, we will see the return of several gimmick events with tweaks that will make them even more popular.
Let’s start with the Colossus II. The biggest change they made for this event was to guarantee $1 million for first place. Also, the event now has a $7 million guarantee. After the controversy over last year’s payout for first, they had to make the top prize at least $1 million or it would have killed the event. Instead, expect this year’s version to trump last years.
Will pay $1 million regardless of entries. Would you like that in cash or check? https://t.co/4oFJVPPike— WSOP (@WSOP) February 25, 2016
When it was announced that the Colossus pays $1 million for first, some wondered why they would have the Millionaire Maker. Easy, pay the top two spots at least $1 million. While that is a simple fix, it’s still not a bad move and the event has a good chance to grow in numbers year-over-year.
The other event I was happy to seem make a return to the schedule was the Super Seniors Event. Yes, I am the same guy that says that non-open field events shouldn’t award bracelets. However, if a concept works, why not run with it.
The Seniors Event for years blew the majority of bracelet events out of the water and last year they decided to make an event for those 65 and older. Doyle Brunson even came out of retirement to play in the event. It was awesome to see some of the true “old school” players come out for an event with a chance at another moment of WSOP glory. The only way for this year’s version to be better is for an old school star of the game to take down the event.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the WSOP.com Online bracelet event returning for a second installment. Last year’s version drew a solid field of 905 players and the final table played to a winner live at the Rio. This year’s re-entry event has done away with the live final tale and the tournament will be played out over a single day. For those that love online poker, this will be your quickest path to a WSOP bracelet. I predict this year’s field to exceed 1,250 entries and a big name to take down the title.
Ladies Event Scheduling Has Chance to Be Genius Move
As soon as the schedule was posted, there were complaints regarding the scheduling of the Ladies World Championship. For those that haven’t looked over the schedule closely, the Ladies Championship is scheduled on the day prior to the start of the 2016 WSOP Main Event.
The two complaints that I’ve heard the most are that the event is scheduled too late into the series and that it is too close to the Main Event. Those concerned seem to believe that some women wishing to play in the Main Event will not have the opportunity to do so.
Let’s take a look at that. First, the Ladies Event will run from Friday July 8 through Sunday July 10. Day 1c of the Main Event is on Monday July 11. Even those that make the final table will be able to buy-in for Day 1c if they desire.
Next, I think that the scheduling of the Ladies Championship so close to the Main Event is actually a good thing for the Main Event. Historically, the events directly following the Ladies Championship have received a slight bump in attendance from women. If this holds true, we should see a bump in Main Event attendance.
That’s exactly what WSOP officials want. For the last few years, there have been complaints over the number of female participants in the Main Event and this creative scheduling is a way to help address the issue. Even a 1% jump in attendance by women would add over 60 players based on last year’s numbers. Obviously it would be great if we saw a 3% jump or more in female registrations, but any growth is preferable.
Will Ivey Play – Will Selbst Pay Up – Can Hellmuth Earn #15
Over the next three months, nearly every major media outlet will speculate on which players will have stellar years at this year’s WSOP so we might as well beat the Summer rush. First, will Phil Ivey actually show up to play a reasonable schedule during the 2016 WSOP or will he sit out like he did most of last summer.
Ivey is tied for second all-time with 10 WSOP bracelets and is the only player that anyone gives a reasonable chance of catching Phil Hellmuth. The question is whether Ivey is properly motivated to come out and play. A properly motivated Ivey is a winning Ivey. If he isn’t motivated, he might as well stick to cash games.
Speaking of Hellmuth, will he win #15 this year? He always finds a way of making final tables at the World Series of Poker, and we expect him to play himself into contention at some point this summer. For some reason, my gut tells me that Hellmuth is going to be in contention for his first Hold’em bracelet since winning the 2012 WSOP Europe.
Believe it or not, Hellmuth hasn’t been at a final table in a regular buy-in bracelet event at the WSOP in Vegas since 2007. This could be the year that he finally gets off the H.O.R.S.E. (pun intended) and get back to being a “One Trick Pony” Hold’em bracelet winner.
Finally, many are going to be closely watching the exploits of Dzmitry Urbanovich this summer. Urbanovich will be a Vegas WSOP rookie and has been on fire since 2016. The EPT Dublin winner has a major prop bet with three-time bracelet winner Vanessa Selbst.
Selbst has given 200:1 odds that Urbanovich cannot win three WSOP bracelets this summer. Only five players in history have accomplished the feat. Should Urbanovich win three bracelets, and probably 2016 WSOP Player of the Year in the process, Selbst will have to pay him $2 million.