World Series of Poker adds plenty of extras for its 50th Anniversary celebration
By Sean Chaffin
The cards are flying through the air and the battle for the gold bracelets is underway. The World Series of Poker celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and kicked off the first of its 89-bracelet summer in late May at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
This year’s events run through July 16 with buy-ins ranging from $400 to $100,000. The series has offered two tiers of buy-in ranges in recent years, with $10,000 and higher championship events attracting big-name pros and lower buy-ins in the $1,000 to $2,500 range for regular Joe players looking to get in the action.
Here’s a quick look at a few of the highlights on the schedule at every buy-in level.
- Ladies Championship (June 20) – This is always a popular event with a room full of female players. The actual buy-in is $10,000, but women receive a discount to $1,000 to deter men from entering.
- Tag Team (June 24) – Get some friends together and make it a team effort. It may not be pro wrestling, but there’s plenty of action in this $1,000 tournament.
- Poker Players Championship (June 24) –This $50,000 event is a major resumé enhancer for the game’s upper echelon. The mixed format features seven different games.
- Deepstack Championship (June 25) – This $600 re-entry features a nice $500,000 guarantee. A $10,000 Main Event will also be awarded to the winner.
- The Colossus (June 26) – The WSOP is great at thinking up names (Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, Crazy Eights) and this is another with only a $400 buy-in. Last year’s winner took home $1 million.
- Crazy Eights 8-Handed (June 28) – This $888 event has be- come very popular, attracting a nice field (8,598 entries in 2018) with a big guarantee of $888,888 to the winner.
- Salute to Warriors (July 2) – This new charity event has been added to honor military members. The $500 buy-in bracelet event benefits the USO and other veterans organizations. It’s open to everyone and active military and veterans are encouraged to participate. A winner will be fittingly crowned on Independence Day.
- $10,000 Main Event (July 3) –The biggest event of them all features three starting flights with much of the action televised on ESPN. Last year’s event attracted 7,874 entries with Indiana’s John Cynn winning the bracelet and $8.8 million top prize.
- $100,000 High Roller (July 11) – Got an extra 100K lying around? That’s what it will take to enter this one – and even allows one re-entry.
- The Closer (July 11) – This $1,500 event was added in 2018 to run concurrently with the finish of the Main Event. There are three flights and payouts start in each of those.
Changes, Promos, and Opportunities
The WSOP is always looking to add to the player experience and has implemented a few changes and additions this year that may be of interest to players. That includes easier registration options and even some chances to win a Main Event seat. Here is what players can expect.
- Win a Free Seat in the Main Event – Players have a chance to win one of five $10,000 Main Event seats the WSOP is giving away. Earn free entries for based on the number of bracelet events you play with a drawing held July 1.
Depending on the number of tournaments played, players can earn up to five entries. In this case, for a few lucky winners it will pay to compete.
- Something Special for Bracelet Winners – Event 81 offers something unique – the new $1,500 Bracelet Winners Only event. The tournament is set for July 10 is only open to players who have won a bracelet in the WSOP’s 50 years.
- Registration Gets Easier – Players can now wire funds for play or deposit money on accounts after arriving at the Rio. After setting up an account at the WSOP Main Cage, players can then register on- line or via mobile app. This allows players to avoid those long lines.
- Registration on a Card – Players can also now use credit and debit cards for registration. Cash, casino chips, and cashier’s checks will also work.
Checking Out the Action
Whether you can’t make it to Las Vegas this summer or don’t have the bankroll, there are plenty of opportunities to tune in to the biggest spectacle in poker. Fans have been able to watch ESPN edited WSOP programming and live streams on the series’ website for almost two decades.
However, in recent years the series has been moving toward near- live programming with only a 30-minute delay per gaming regulations. Once again, ESPN and PokerGO will be offering daily coverage through- out the series.
ESPN has already outlined its coverage for the event. The network will be offering 13 straight days of Main Event coverage July 3-16,broadcasting at least 40 hours of live coverage plus an additional 90 hours of edited episodes.
PokerGO will stream other events throughout the series as well as Main Event coverage not on ESPN. The full PokerGO streaming schedule has not been announced yet. The service is available online or through its mobile app.
Those in Las Vegas can also head over to the Rio to take in some of the action live including final tables from the ESPN broadcast set. It should be a big summer for the epicenter of poker with plenty of bad beats, big bucks, and dreams becoming realities.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and senior writer for Casino Player and Strictly Slots magazines. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.