WSOP 2015 Schedule and Thoughts

There are two times of the year for a professional poker player. There are the six weeks every summer where the World Series of Poker runs every day within the Rio conference center rooms. Where we come home to the Amazon room, the Brasilia room, the Pavilion. And then there is the rest of the year. The other 46 weeks, where we just wait. Perhaps we’ll bide our time by playing some cash games on the strip, hitting up LA or Florida, or AC for some WPT main event. Some of us will even go offshore so we can grind online. And somehow it all feels unreal… like real life has been put on hold, and reality is those six weeks in Vegas.

As I write this, the WSOP is a mere 10 weeks away. I couldn’t be more excited. Like a little kid waiting for Christmas, I feel like building a long chain of construction paper circles, and tearing off a link every day until I can stand in the registration line. Instead of a list of toys sent to Santa, I’ve sent a list of tournaments to my backer. This is what my favorite part of the year will look like:

Date Day Time Event # Format Buy-In
5/28/2015 Thu 12 PM 3 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better $1,500
4 PM 4 Shootout No-Limit Hold’em $3,000
5/29/2015 Fri 12 PM 5A The Colossus No-Limit Hold’em $565
4 PM 5B $565
5/30/2015 Sat 12 PM 5C $565
4 PM 5D $565
5/31/2015 Sun 11 AM 6 Hyper Hold’em (No-Limit) $1,000
6/1/2015 Mon 12 PM 8 Pot-Limit Hold’em $1,500
4 PM 9 Seven Card Razz $1,500
6/2/2015 Tue Break
6/3/2015 Wed 12 PM 12 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
4 PM 13 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or Better $1,500
6/4/2015 Thu 12 PM 14 Shootout No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/5/2015 Fri 10 AM 16A Millionaire Maker No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/6/2015 Sat 10 AM 16B $1,500
6/7/2015 Sun 12 PM 18 Turbo No-Limit Hold’em $1,000
4 PM 19 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em $3,000
6/8/2015 Mon 12 PM 20 No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/9/2015 Tue 12 PM 22 No-Limit Hold’em $1,000
6/10/2015 Wed 12 PM 24 H.O.R.S.E. $1,500
6/11/2015 Thu 12 PM 26 Pot-Limit Omaha $1,000
6/12/2015 Fri 10 PM 28A Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/13/2015 Sat 10 AM 28B $1,500
6/14/2015 Sun 12 PM 30 No-Limit Hold’em $1,000
4 PM 31 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-low Split-8 or Better $3,000
6/15/2015 Mon 4 PM 33 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball $1,500
6/16/2015 Tue 12 PM 34 Split Format No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
4 PM 35 H.O.R.S.E. $3,000
6/17/2015 Wed 12 PM 36 Pot-Limit Omaha $1,500
6/18/2015 Thu 12 PM 38 No-Limit Hold’em $3,000
4 PM 39 Ten Game Mix/Six-Handed $1,500
6/19/2015 Fri Break
6/20/2015 Sat 12 PM 42 Extended Play No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/21/2015 Sun Break
6/22/2015 Mon 12 PM 45 No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
4 PM 46 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha $3,000
6/23/2015 Tue 12 PM 47 No-Limit Hold’em $2,500
4 PM 48 Seven Card Stud $1,500
6/24/2015 Wed 12 PM 49 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-low Split-8 or Better $1,500
6/25/2015 Thu 12 PM 51 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em $3,000
4 PM 52 Dealers Choice/Six-Handed $1,500
6/26/2015 Fri Break
6/27/2015 Sat 12 PM 55 DraftKings 50/50 No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/28/2015 Sun 12 PM 57 No-Limit Hold’em $1,000
6/29/2015 Mon 12 PM 59 No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
6/30/2015 Tue 10 AM 61A Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold’em $1,111
4 PM 61B $1,111
7/1/2015 Wed 12 PM 62 Bounty No-Limit Hold’em $1,500
7/2/2015 Thu 4 PM 65 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or Better $1,500
7/3/2015 Fri 10 AM 66A Lucky 7’s No-Limit Hold’em $777
6 PM 66B $777
7/4/2015 Sat Break
7/5/2015 Sun Break
7/6/2015 Mon Break
7/7/2015 Tue 12 PM 68C Main Event (No-Limit Hold’em) $10,000

A few thoughts. First off, I’m supportive of the WSOP’s decision to flatten the payouts for the Main Event. Flatter payouts are better for the poker economy. I’m also supportive of lowering the buyins, as this will encourage more casual players to take a shot at winning a bracelet event. Finally, I’m ok with the online bracelet event. It’s bound to be a huge draw, and the fact is that even with Ultimate Poker disappearing, is still a ghost town. It’s rare that their nightly events draw more than 100 runners. So anything that will help the site survive and thrive is good for us Vegas pros. And a bracelet in an online event can’t mean less than the ones they’d hand out in the late 70s and early 80s, where you had to navigate through two tables to get that gold bracelet. I really have to shake my head when I hear people talk about how the value of a WSOP bracelet is getting diluted. Mike Sexton made his way through 174 people to win his bracelet back in 1989. And then recently, he came out swinging against the WSOP claiming that with as many bracelets as they give away now, the gold just doesn’t mean as much.

Oh really? Are we really going to say that the bracelet I won this past summer, where I navigated through a field of 1,688 entrants (nearly 10x as many as entered Sexton’s event) is somehow worth less than the bracelet Sexton won more than two decades ago? I don’t think so. Let’s not forget that in other sports, trophies are handed out like candy at Halloween when an organization wins a championship. When the Seahawks won, I’m sure that every trainer got a ring. Every marketing guy got a ring. The secretary of the General Manager probably got a ring. Hell even the janitors probably got a Super Bowl ring. Does that mean that Russell Wilson’s ring is somehow worth less? No. It’s still a god damn Super Bowl ring!

Mike Sexton is a champion, and his accomplishment is worthy of applause. And so is the accomplishment of every other bracelet winner in the history of our mind sport… from Lakewood Louie to Martin Jacobson.

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