2018 World Series of Poker is Here

Do you hear that? The white noise of chip shuffling, the random cheers from deep corners of the Pavilion Room, the nervous murmurs…it is that time of year again. The 2018 World Series of Poker is underway!

The opening day of the World Series of Poker was technically Tuesday, but today, Wednesday, May 30th, is the first day when players will sit down for gold bracelet events. The first event of the Series is the traditional opener: the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em. The first open event, though, is the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty tournament, quite a way to kickoff the festivities.

Champion Scott Blumstein

2017 WSOP Main Event Champion Scott Blumstein
Photo credit: WSOP.com

Of course, loads of players – casual and otherwise – are already looking ahead to the World Series of Poker Main Event, so lets talk about that, shall we? The Main Event will begin July 2nd and have three starting flights. On July 5th, those who made it through the first two starting flights will play in Days 2A and 2B. Even though those poker days are on the same calendar day, the fields for each will remain segregated, as if they were playing on different days of the week. Day 2C, for the survivors of Day 1C, will be on July 6th and is expected to be by far the largest of the second days. Day 3 will be the first day where all of the remaining players will come together in a single, unified field.

The final table will be determined by the end of play on July 11th. And remember, last year the WSOP got rid of the November Nine, so there will be no extended break. The final table gets going right away on July 12th, when it will play down to six players. The next day the field will be narrowed to three players and on July 14th, the winner will be crowned.

Speaking of winners, the formula for the World Series of Poker Player of the Year award has been altered, as reported by Haley Hintze in April. Last year was like the shitty alternate timeline in Back to the Future II when Biff Tannen ruled over Hill Valley. Chris Ferguson – yes, THAT Chris Ferguson – won the WSOP Player of the Year. Ferguson cashed a record 23 times in the Las Vegas WSOP and WSOP Europe combined, winning one bracelet at the WSOP Europe in a field with fewer than 100 players. Most of his cashes were piddly as far as World Series of Poker cashes go and many felt his performance was not worth of him being Player of the Year.

“The most significant difference between 2017 and 2018 is the ratio of points awarded for a win vs. points awarded for a min-cash,” said the WSOP. “In 2017, the examples above range from 3.25:1 (for the $10,000 PLO/8) to 8.16:1 (for the Main Event). In 2018, that ratio is always roughly 20:1.”

Unfortunately, this year’s changes would have still made Ferguson POY.

New Tournaments Introduced

There are 78 events this year, four more than last year. In a not-coincidental bit of math, there are nine new events and five events that have been removed from the schedule. Here are the new tournaments for 2018:

• $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em
• $100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
• $365 Pot-Limit Omaha GIANT
• $1,000 DOUBLE STACK No-Limit Hold’em (10,000 starting chips)
• $565 WSOP.com ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed
• $1,500 BOUNTY Pot-Limit Omaha
• $1,000 DOUBLE-STACK No-Limit Hold’em (30-minute levels)
• $1,500 THE CLOSER No-Limit Hold’em (15,000 starting chips, 30-minute levels)
• $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em

The five events that have been eliminated are the $10,000 Tag Team event, two $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em events, and two $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em events.

Have a Million Bucks Handy?

The $1 million Big One for One Drop is back, as well, after spending a gap year in Monaco. The tournament made its World Series of Poker debut in 2012 with 48 players battling for the sickest of purses. An emotional Antonio Esfandiari took the title and $18.3 million. The event was not held in 2013 (having a $1 million buy-in tournament every year can be a bit tough on the wallet, even for rich people). Daniel Colman won the Big One in 2014 and $15.3 million. Then, with organizers getting annoyed at the concentration of poker pros in the tournament, the Big One moved to Monaco and was an invitation-only tournament meant for deep-pocketed non-professional players (though I believe some pros did play in it).

$111,111 of each Big One buy-in goes to Guy Laliberte’s One Drop non-profit, an organization which aims to give impoverished countries and communities access to clean drinking water. The World Series of Poker does not take a rake.

And let’s not forget that there are four online bracelet events this year. In years past, only people located in Nevada could participate, but with the liquidity sharing deal between Nevada and New Jersey (and Delaware), people playing on WSOP.com in New Jersey can compete, as well.

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