Register Online for the WSOP, Avoid Long Lines

With the 2016 World Series of Poker less than a week away, poker players from around the world are finalizing travel plans for a potentially (hopefully) lengthy Las Vegas trip. Part of that planning for WSOP participants has always included setting aside time – and often lots of it – to register for events. One of the biggest gripes of WSOP attendees in any given year is the seemingly interminable wait at the registration desk to signup for one of the dozens of tournaments. There have been times in years past when players got in line with a good hour or two to spare and were still late entering the event because of the lines. This year, the WSOP is hoping to ease a lot of the pain with a new online registration system.

The system was developed by Genesis Gaming Solutions, Inc., which has already been providing the World Series of Poker with the Bravo Poker Tournament Software for tournament registration and payouts. Thus, one would assume that the integration of the new registration options should go smoothly.

First, a Few Hoops

The first thing players will need to do is register on the Bravo Poker Live website at http://www.bravopokerlive.com/venues/wsop/. It looks pretty straightforward; all that is required is a name, e-mail address, and password. Players can also opt to login with their Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, or LinkedIn (really?) accounts if they would prefer to not create a new login.

"What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it."

“What I wouldn’t give for a large sock with horse manure in it.”

A Caesars Total Rewards card or account is also required. Those who do not have one can signup at http://www.totalrewards.com/program. Again, this appears to be fairly simple. It requires a bit more information than the Bravo Poker Live site, but it’s still just basic stuff like name, address, and phone number. The Illuminati knows your every move, anyway, so you might as well fill it all out.

Once all that is done – and it should take only a couple minutes – players can go ahead and start registering for World Series of Poker events. There are three methods that can be used to pay for the buy-in: wire transfer, cashier’s check, or credit card. Credit card is only available for events with buy-ins of $1,500 or less.

As nice as this is, there are a couple downsides. First, if you are only finding out about this now and plan on playing at the beginning of the WSOP, it may be too late, at least for those early events. Wire transfers and cashier’s checks require registration at least 14 days before the start date of the tournament. Credit cards are a bit more flexible, as they require registration just 72 hours before the event and only for the first time they are used. Once a credit card is used for the first time, it can be used without any sort of delay.

It Ain’t Free

The other problem is that these payment methods will likely come with additional fees. They all do, actually, as the payment processor is tacking on $3 to each registration, but there could be more. There is a 2.95 percent fee for credit card payments, so for a $1,500 event, that means players will pay an extra $44.25 (plus the $3 fee) to register online. Wire transfers and cashier’s checks usually come with fees, as well. For example, my primary bank, Wells Fargo (is using a big, brick-and-mortar bank as my primary bank a leak in my financial planning?), charges $10 for an online cashier’s check and $30 for an outgoing domestic wire transfer. The latter two fees are not really all that bad if one is registering for a pricey event, but players might balk at some of the fees for the cheaper events. It is really just a question of whether or not people think it is worth it for the convenience.

Oops – There Still Might be Lines

Unfortunately, once registration is done online, the process is not actually complete. Players must still go to the Rotunda Area of the Rio Convention Center (that’s the main lobby-type area at the point where people cross over from the casino to the Convention Center) and visit the Fast Pass Total Rewards Desk at least one hour before their event starts to have their identity verified. This includes providing proof of identification plus the credit card used to register, if a credit card was used as payment. At this point, seat assignments and receipts will be printed and players can go ahead and get to it.

Once a player goes through that identity verification process, it no longer has to be done for any subsequent online registrations. After that, players can print their seating cards at WSOP Fast Track Kiosks in the Rotunda Area. Anyone who has used a kiosk to print boarding passes at an airport or to buy movie tickets at a theater should be familiar with how these things work.

Of course, regular, in-person registration is still available at the Rio starting at 9:00am on May 31st.

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