2013 World Series of Poker

First 2013 WSOP Events Start Smoothly, WSOP Online Poker Endures Brief “Technical Glitch”

2013 World Series of PokerDay 1 of the 2013 World Series of Poker is in the books, the day highlighted by the first two of 62 bracelet events getting underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Also of note on Wednesday was the launch by Caesars Interactive Entertainment of the WSOP’s Nevada online poker site for play money only, although a temporary “technical glitch” did allow a few moments’ worth of real money play for a brief period on Wednesday.

First two bracelet events underway

Event No. 1, the $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event, started shortly after noon Vegas time on Wednesday, with last year’s WSOP Dealer of the Year, Tim Louie — serving as a floorperson this time around — delivering the “shuffle up and deal” announcement.

A big field of 898 turned out for Event No. 1, an increase over last year’s 732, and when  play concluded late last night just 55 remained, led by Michael Trivett (133,900) and Sean Small (103,700). Both of those two seek their first WSOP cash, while Small boasts a number of 2012-13 WSOP Circuit cashes, including four final tables.

Meanwhile PokerNews reporter Chad Holloway sits in third position, with his colleague Josh Cahlik also returning to a top 15 stack. (As Caesars Entertainment contractors, PN employees are eligible to participate in the event.) The two-day tournament concludes today, with a first prize of $84,915 scheduled to go to the winner.

The first open event of the series, the $5,000 Eight-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Event No. 2 — a new format for the WSOP — then began at 5 p.m. yesterday, with 481 players entering. Last year two $5K NLHE events were on the schedule, with 409 playing in a $5K “Mixed Max” event (taking place early in the Series) and 1,001 entering a regular $5K NLHE event (coming near the end).

Many notables appeared among the field for the three-day Event No. 2, including end-of-day chip leader Tom Marchese who bagged 153,975 at the conclusion of play. Scott Baumstein, David “Doc” Sands, Darryll Fish, Bryan Piccioli, and Antonio Esfandiari also ended Day 1 having secured spots inside the top 10, with 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps additionally surviving with a below average stack. In addition to the bracelet, a first prize of $553,906 awaits the winner.

As both of those events continue today, Event No. 3, a $1,000 NLHE event that allows for a single re-entry, gets going as well, with two separate “Day 1” flights (at 12 and 5 p.m.). Following the format of several WSOP Circuit Main Events, the event allows players who bust in the afternoon session to re-enter the evening flight.

WSOP.com online poker site debuts, suffers early stumble

Meanwhile the WSOP made news off the felt yesterday as well with the launch of its “WSOP.com” play money client. As noted in the WSOP Conference Call two weeks ago, Caesars Interactive Entertainment hopes to begin offering real money games online in Nevada via the WSOP.com site at some point during this summer’s WSOP, although no date for the launch was able to be provided.

CIE received license approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board in December 2012 and has partnered with software provider 888 who received its license approval in March of this year. As indicated in during the conference call, the timeline for offering real money games is not within CIE’s control, as they currently await final approval from regulators before being able to move forward.

During the call mention was made by WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart that “the market is ready for a first-class product,” with other references made as well to difficulties encountered by Ultimate Poker during its first weeks of being the only online poker site to offer real money online poker to Nevada-based players.

But the WSOP.com endured a small misstep of its own on Wednesday when real money games were briefly made available to players who had downloaded the Mac-based client during the early moments of its going live during the afternoon.

wsop-playpokeronlineThose visiting the WSOP site can download the client by clicking the “Play Poker Online” graphic located on the lower left side of the landing page, which automatically begins the download. An earlier “WSOP USA” version of the play money client had been available for the last year or so, but starting yesterday clicking the graphic delivered a new “WSOP.com”-branded version of the client.

Starting the download automatically detects whether the user needs a Windows or Mac version of the client. I was able to do so for the Windows version yesterday on a desktop computer, although the Mac version required more memory than my MacBook Air has, and thus I was unable to download the Mac client during the time it was available.

Others did, however, download the Mac client, and a report soon surfaced on the Two Plus Two forums from a poster (“the ascent”) who had been able to deposit money using a Visa card and had begun to play a NL100 cash game, noting that three other players appeared to be logged in for real money games as well. Others posting in the thread were only able to see play money games (as was the case for the Windows-based version of the client I downloaded).

“I deposited $100, won $14, and now it looks like my deposit vanished…currently $14 in my account,” eventually reported “the ascent.” Then came an additional report — coming a little over an hour after the initial post of successfully depositing and being able to play for real money — that “the ascent” was no longer able to play real money games and instead when trying to join a real money table was met with a disclaimer noting the games were unavailable.

Soon posters sorted out that real money games had only been available — and only for a brief period — to those using the Mac client. About three hours after the initial launch, reports came that the Mac client was no longer available for download at all.

Soon thereafter a new poster named “WSOP Ken,” the Online Poker Room Manager for WSOP.com, came on to make his first 2+2 post to clarify the situation:

“Our real money poker offering on WSOP.com is not yet live in the state of Nevada. Unfortunately, for a short time this morning, two Nevada players were able to gain access to the Mac version of our real money poker client and participated in a live game. These players should not have been able to deposit or play. The technical glitch that enabled these players to gain access to the Mac client has been corrected. Please note, no payment transactions were completed. We appreciate the interest in WSOP.com and look forward to becoming part of the Nevada online poker community in the near future.”

This morning Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Nevada Gaming Control Board was contacted immediately after the “glitch” had been discovered and corrected. NGCB Chairman A.G. Burnett told Stutz that Caesars “had addressed it immediately” and “notified me right when it happened.” Burnett added that “we are working with [Caesars] to see how the mistake was made.”

It is unknown whether Wednesday’s mishap may affect the timeline for WSOP.com’s launch of real money games in Nevada. At present only the Windows-based WSOP.com client — and only for play money — is available for download.

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