WSOP Tweaks Online Bracelet Event Format
February 2nd was kind of like a poker player’s Christmas – the schedule for the 2015 World Series of Poker was released. Just like the excitement of getting to unwrap all those presents under the tree, poker players got to feel the exhilaration of finally knowing when the WSOP was going down and what new tournaments had been cooked up.* Everyone now knew when to put in for vacation at work.
Arguably the most interesting addition to the WSOP schedule was the online bracelet event. A shock to many, World Series organizers decided that since it was 2015, it was about time that the WSOP got a little more modern and awarded a real, honest-to-goodness gold bracelet for a tournament that takes place almost entirely online. The poker community greeted the news with mixed feelings. One of the more reasonable objections to the tournament was about how it was to end. On July 2nd, the tournament would begin at noon on WSOP.com in Nevada and would pause when just two players remained. Those two players would then head on over to the Rio in Las Vegas and finish it up face-to-face on July 3rd to determine the champion and the first-ever online bracelet winner.
It was certainly an interesting way to do things (and, in my opinion, fun), and while most people seemed ok with the switch to a live tournament at the end, many questioned the decision to just have the heads-up portion of the event be live, rather than the entire final table. Well, it looks like WSOP officials heard the complaints, as they have now adjusted the format for Event 64.
Almost everything in the online event will be the same as before. It will start at noon on July 2nd and then break so that the end can be played at the Rio. Rather than just having the final two players meet in person, the WSOP has decided that the live portion of the tournament will now be six-handed. Additionally, that live, six-handed final table will be held on July 4th rather than July 3rd.
The reason for the shift from a two-player live portion to a six-player one is unknown, probably just more appealing. WSOP officials have said that there is a logistical reason for the change in date, though, and it makes perfect sense. Having an off day in between the online and live sections of the tournament will make the final six players’ travel to Las Vegas much easier. Las Vegas is in the extreme southern part of Nevada and because anyone within state borders can play on WSOP.com, it is very possible that one or more players at the final table will have to travel from quite far away – hundreds of miles – to get to the Rio. Because the Las Vegas metro area is such a major population center in Nevada and many people playing in the tournament might even be visiting Las Vegas for the WSOP, it is also highly likely that multiple players will have a very easy trek to the casino. That actually makes the travel day even more important, as it gives those who have to travel from the far reaches of Nevada a chance to rest before the finale and compete on a more even playing field from a fatigue standpoint with those who were local.
The other new event that the WSOP is hyping is the $565 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament dubbed “The Colossus.” Created as a response to the WPT500, it is the lowest buy-in open event at the World Series of Poker since 1980. The Casino Employee’s event has traditionally been in the $500 range, but that is a closed event, so that doesn’t count for this statistic. The Colossus is the fifth event on the WSOP schedule and will thus highlight opening weekend. It is anticipated to be gigantic (hence the name), as the low buy-in plus the $5 million guaranteed prize pool is expected to attract thousands of players. In fact, the WSOP hopes The Colossus will attract the largest field in live poker tournament history.
The Colossus will have four starting flights, divided across just two starting days. Flight 5A (meaning Event 5, Flight A) will start on Friday, May 29th at 10:00am, while Flight 5B will follow up that same day at 6:00pm. Flights 5C and 5D will follow the same schedule the next day. The tournament is also a re-entry event, meaning players who are eliminated can pay another buy-in to try again on any subsequent day. Those knocked out on day 5D, of course, are out of luck.
*Ok, I’m probably going way overboard on how exciting seeing a tournament schedule can be. Just go with me on this one.