2015 WSOP Begins Wednesday
Wednesday is Christmas in Las Vegas. I mean, for tourists, every day in Las Vegas is Christmas, but Wednesday is particularly special as the 2015 World Series of Poker kicks off at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Some may bemoan that the WSOP no longer has the aura it once did because of how many bracelets are now awarded (over 60), the proliferation of major poker events worldwide, and online poker, but screw that noise… this is the World Series of Poker. This is the day we’ve been waiting for all year.
There are 68 total events this year, beginning with, as has been the tradition, the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event. It is a closed event, as only those who work at casinos are eligible; the first open event, $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, will begin later on Wednesday.
The first event that WSOP organizers are really looking forward to is Event #5: The Colossus $565 No-Limit Hold’em tournament with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool. It is the least expensive open event in World Series of Poker history, about half the price of the recently introduced $1,000 events. WSOP officials anticipate that the Colossus will end up being the largest live poker event of all time. In this month’s conference call with the media, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said, “If it is not by a large margin the largest event in the history of poker, it will be a disappointment.”
The Colossus will have two starting days, but four starting flights. The twin flights each day will begin eight hours apart, at 10:00am and 6:00pm. It is also a re-entry event in that players who are eliminated may try again in any or all remaining flights. Additionally, if a player does make it to the end of one of the flights (early flights are estimated to end at 5:45pm and late flights are estimated to end at 1:45am) and is not satisfied with his chip stack, he can forfeit his chips and re-enter the tournament in a following flight. The chips must be forfeited to enter a subsequent flight; players can’t keep the chips, play another flight, and then see which stack is bigger.
Another new event of note is the first ever online bracelet event because, after all, it’s 2015, so why not? The $1,000 buy-in begins July 2nd at noon on WSOP.com Nevada. It will continue until just six players remain, at which point it will be paused until July 4th, whereupon those six players will duke it out live at the Rio. As mentioned, the tournament is only on WSOP.com in Nevada; it will not be held on WSOP.com in New Jersey. Players may qualify for the event from outside Nevada, but to actually play in it, they must be located within the Silver State’s borders.
Let us not forget, of course, the $10,000 Main Event, which will begin on Sunday, July 5th, with the first of three starting flights. It will proceed through Thursday, July 14th and will stop when nine players remain. Those players will make up the November Nine and will return to the Rio on Sunday, November 8th. In a change from previous years, the final table will play down to four on Sunday, then two on Monday, and finally the champion on Tuesday.
Another significant change to the Main Event is the payout structure. The tournament will payout to 1,000 places, much more than it has in the past; for last year’s field, that would equate to about 15 percent of the entrants. If the field reaches a minimum of 5,000 players, the minimum payout will be $15,000. If the total field reaches last year’s number, 6,683, every player at the final table will be paid at least $1 million.
Speaking of last year, Martin Jacobson triumphed over the massive Main Event field, playing wonderfully at the final table to win $10 million.
George Danzer won the 2014 World Series of Poker Player of the Year award with 923.5 points, beating Brandon Shack-Harris by nearly 100 points. Danzer cashed seven times at last year’s WSOP plus another three times at the WSOP Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC). In Las Vegas, he won two bracelets: one in $10,000 Seven Card Razz and one in $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. He also reached one other final table and just missed a fourth, finishing ninth in a six-handed event. At WSOP APAC, he won a third bracelet, taking the $5,000 Eight-Game Mixed Event, and final-tabled the $1,650 Eight-Game Dealer’s Choice tournament.
The cards will be in the air Wednesday at noon for the Casino Employees Event; the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Event begins at 4:00pm.