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The 2016 World Series of Poker is less than one month away, and the excitement is brewing for players who will trek to Las Vegas from dozens of countries around the world to participate.

To increase that anticipation, the powers-that-be announced a number of changes and improvements from past years. And by all accounts, these are changes that players have been requesting. The WSOP accepts with critiques, criticisms, and suggestions throughout the year, and some of them were able to be implemented for the 2016 summer games.

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In and of themselves, the changes may seem somewhat minor to some in the poker community, but each play a role in simplifying the WSOP and offering conveniences that will improve the overall experience for players and fans alike. Best of all, player feedback was not only heard but taken seriously and incorporated into the 2016 WSOP.

One Word: Kevmath

Every company or festival or series needs a person like Kevin Mathers at the helm of its social media outreach. His own Twitter feed has long been the center of the poker universe, and this year, the WSOP has offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse. He will be the man behind the WSOP Twitter accounts, even monitoring the new ChipIn Twitter setup, and this benefits everyone from WSOP executives to even the most casual poker fan.

905x510_888 sponsors WSOP-1

Payout Simplicity

One of the problems in the bigger WSOP tournaments is the payout line. It’s disappointing for many to simply min-cash a tournament, but then to have to wait in a long line at the Rio to get one’s buy-in back (plus a few dollars) puts a lot of frustrated people together, clogs up the hallways, and puts more pressure on the cashiers.

So, the eQueue process is going to be implemented this year. When that payout line begins to form, players who have information on file will be able to leave the tournament area and return when they receive a text message that their payout is ready for pickup.

wsop waiting in line at rio

Can You Update My Chip Count?

There are a limited number of reporters covering each WSOP event, and due to the sheer volume of players and tournaments and updates to write, chip counts are often updated sparsely and intermittently. It becomes frustrating for media members as well as players, backers, friends, and family members who want to check progress.

Players can update their own chip counts this year, whether from their smartphone or tablet. Anyone who feels that their counts are not being accurately reflected in a timely manner can log in to the ChipIn website and update it themselves. It does require a Total Rewards number and date of birth to complete the login process, but everyone from Daniel Negreanu to Jane Doe can record his or her counts as often as desired.

Is There a Live Stream?

Most people around the world are unable to attend the WSOP in Las Vegas, especially all seven weeks of it. The desire to watch final tables and some of the action online is great, so the WSOP is back with “Live at the WSOP” streaming again this year. One final table will be streamed on the WSOP website each day – with a few exceptions noted on the website – complete with commentary by David Tuchman and Tatjana Pasalic.

The best thing about this year, though, is the ability to watch a final table the following day in condensed form. Editors will take the sometimes-long and slow final table action and edit it down to the highlights. This gives viewers the chance to see the best of it without having to stream hours upon hours of action.

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Listen Up

Finally, the players will be allowed to do something they’ve been asking to do for years. They will be able to wear headphones once they make the money of a tournament, though they will still have to remove them when they make the final table.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.