WSOP APAC

World Series of Poker Asia Pacific Starts Thursday; PokerListings, Poker Asia Pacific Lead Coverage

WSOP APACThe inaugural World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) kicks off at the Crown Melbourne in Australia on Thursday, with five bracelet events, a non-bracelet “High Roller” event, and another installment of the Caesars Cup highlighting the schedule from April 4-15. Not only will this series represent the WSOP’s first time outside of Las Vegas or Europe, but the WSOP APAC also marks the first WSOP series in which PokerListings will be the exclusive live reporting partner, with the site planning to team with Poker Asia Pacific to provide its coverage.

Five Bracelets, a High Roller, and the Caesars Cup

Here are the five bracelet events for the WSOP APAC (all $ AUD):

    • Event No. 1 (4/4-4/8): NLHE Accumulator ($1,100), 3-day (w/3 Day 1 flights)
    • Event No. 2 (4/7-4/9): Pot-Limit Omaha ($1,650), 3-day
    • Event No. 3 (4/8-4/10): Mixed Event ($2,200), 3-day
    • Event No. 4 (4/9-4/11): No-Limit Hold’em 6-handed ($5,000), 3-day
    • Event No. 5 (4/11-4/15): No-Limit Hold’em Main Event ($10,000), 5-day

Event No. 1 features a new format for the WSOP, an “accumulator” event in which players will be able to enter one, two, or all three Day 1 flights and whatever chips they accumulate will be combined into a single stack to begin Day 2.

Event No. 3, the mixed event, presents the popular 8-game mix in which players will rotate between no-limit hold’em, seven-card stud, Omaha hi/lo, razz, pot-limit Omaha, limit hold’em, stud hi/lo, and 2-7 triple draw. That event is notable insofar as the WSOPE has only spread hold’em and/or Omaha tournaments since 2009.

Also sure to earn a lot of attention next week will be the non-bracelet High Roller event that begins Saturday, April 13. A two-day event, the High Roller will feature a buy-in of AUD $50,000 with an option to re-enter should one bust during the first 12 half-hour levels.

Then on Sunday, April 14 comes the Caesars Cup in which teams from Europe, the Americas, and Asia Pacific will compete. This one-day event will follow a format similar to previous iterations of the Caesars Cup at the WSOPE in 2009, 2011, and 2012, except in this case three teams will compete rather than just two.

Sam Trickett will captain Team Europe, Phil Ivey will lead Team Americas, and Joe Hachem will manage Team Asia Pacific. Thanks to winning the 2012 Caesars Cup in Cannes, Team Americas will enjoy a bye as the other two five-player teams compete first, then the winner will take on Team Americas in the final.

Coverage Down Under

PokerListingsAs mentioned, PokerListings has been tapped to provide live reporting from the WSOP APAC, with the site planning to team up with Poker Asia Pacific for its coverage. I spoke with both Matthew Showell of PokerListings as well as Heath Chick of Poker Asia Pacific to get an idea what the sites’ plans were while at the Crown Melbourne for the next couple of weeks.

“We’re going to cover every event including $50k and Caesars Cup, providing full live updates and running chip counts, photos, as well as hand-for-hand coverage of the bracelet final-tables,” explained Showell. He added that PL chose to work with Poker Asia Pacific on the live updates and chip counts because of the latter’s experience and familiarity with the players of the region. “Those guys know the Asia Pacific poker scene better than anyone,” said Showell.

Showell also mentioned how PokerListings will be hosting live streaming of all five final tables for the bracelet events as well as for the High Roller (available also at WSOP.com) while also creating additional content. “We’ll be producing daily videos including but not limited to a daily highlight show hosted by myself, interviews with big-name poker pros, bracelet winners and celebrities/sports stars,” added Showell.

Poker Asia PacificAs Showell mentions, the team from Poker Asia Pacific will be helping with the live updates and chip counts from the WSOP APAC. Heath Chick further explained to me how the Poker Asia Pacific team will additionally “be posting regular articles, updates, interviews, photo galleries and more on the PAP website,” as well as updating their Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly.

Other sites will be reporting from the WSOP APAC as well. I’ve spoken to both PokerNews and BLUFF in recent days, each of whom are sending reporters to provide daily reports and features as well as stories on all of the bracelet events. This morning Poker Asia Pacific has provided a detailed overview of places to go to “Get the latest WSOP APAC buzz” that offers more links as well as a full schedule of events.

Expectations for the WSOP APAC

The WSOP APAC comes less than three months removed from the Aussie Millions series that also took place at the Crown Melbourne in January. Curious about expectations for the WSOP APAC, I asked both Showell and Chick to share their thoughts.

“I expect the turnout for the main event and the low buy-in prelims to be huge,” said Showell. “We already know the Crown Casino can draw a crowd — they do it every year at the Aussie Millions — and now that they’re partnering with WSOP and giving players the chance to win a gold bracelet, Australians and pros from around the world are going to want in.”

Meanwhile, Chick pointed to other contextual factors when delivering his assessment.

“It’s really just guesswork as no one is really sure about what impact the Aussie Millions and WSOP APAC will have on each other,” said Chick. “Aussie Millions had 12 months to satellite and pulled 629 [for the AUD $10,000 Main Event]. Meanwhile, WSOP APAC has only had about eight weeks to satellite. How many internationals will fly to Australia for two $10K events in just two months?”

“My guess is that we’ll see some new faces that skipped Aussie Millions due to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure [which also took place in January] or other clashes, with only a few repeat visitors. Over time, I think most internationals are going to choose one or the other.”

Chick estimates a possible turnout of 400-425 for the WSOP APAC Main Event, but guesses that eventually “we’ll see the two ‘majors’ end up pretty similar in numbers.”

Chick’s reference to “majors” recalls the words of WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart when plans for this inaugural WSOP APAC was first announced nearly one year ago. At the time, Stewart described the move as part of a plan “to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker and use our platform to elevate the game through a series of major championships.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how the events play out as well as how the poker world responds to the introduction of this new series on the professional poker circuit calendar.

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