WSOP Announces “Digital Tool” Enhancements

An oddity of the poker industry is that despite the fact that it is driven so much by online poker nowadays, live poker is still often an endeavor that seems to be run by luddites. The World Series of Poker, in particular, has had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the pre-internet age; it was only a few years ago that it stopped requiring dumb luck just a get a decent internet stream of the Main Event final table. But things are getting better every year. Last week, the WSOP announced some new “digital tools” that will be implemented this summer to hopefully help the poker festival run more smoothly and be more enjoyable for everyone.

Make Receiving a Check a Happy Pursuit

The highlight of the announcement is the new eQueue payout procedure which allows players who cash in a WSOP event to schedule their payout whenever they would like. In the past, when a player busted out (or won a tournament, as the case may be), he or she would have to head on over to the cashier to receive their money. Oftentimes, especially in situations just after a money bubble burst and players started dropping left and right, lines would get very long. While receiving money is nice, players who were just eliminated from a tournament are not too eager to hang around, so having to wait in a long line can be a trying experience.

Day 1b of the 2013 WSOP Main Event (Photo: WSOP)

Day 1b of the 2013 WSOP Main Event (Photo: WSOP)

But with eQueue, players who receive a payout slip when they bust out can go see the pre-payout clerk to make sure all their payout info is on file, provide a mobile phone number, and then receive a text when the payout is ready. The WSOP emphasizes that the payout info must be on file, as that’s how the payment can be prepared without the player at the cashier. Additionally, the player must return to the Payout Office at the time designated when they initiate the eQueue process in order to be sure they receive priority payout.

Of course, players can always just walk up to the WSOP Payout Office and wait in line without using eQueue; the office is open 24/7. Additionally, for the Colossus event, players in flights D, E, and F can schedule appointments that are supposed to guarantee them a 15-minute or shorter wait.

Players Could Just Tweet All Their Friends Their Chip Counts, You Know

It will also be easier for fans at home to follow the action. Players can provide updates to their chip counts right on WSOP.com whenever they would like so that their friends, family, and interested parties don’t have to wait late into the night to find out the official chip counts. Players can provide their own updates via the ChipIn tool, located on WSOP.com and via a mobile app.

So that nobody can pretend they are someone else and provide false chip information (though players can always enter fake chip counts for themselves), players must register for their ChipIn account using their Total Rewards number and date of birth.

Suitable Programming Replacement for Rachael Ray or Dr. Phil

Poker Fans who want to follow the action live can tune into the aptly named “Live at the WSOP” web stream, hosted by David Tuchman and Tatjana Pasalic. The webcast will focus on one final table as it happens, with cut-aways to other final tables as well as other action and interviews around the tournament room. Coverage will begin each day at noon, though there will be a 30-minute delay to help protect the integrity of the game. The broadcast will also feature a condensed version of final tables that took place the previous day.

“Live at the WSOP” will begin on June 2nd and will run through July 11th, with off-days on days where there are no final tables.

Brace Yourself for a Twitter Barrage

Those who enjoy getting their poker information in bite-sized pieces will be happy to know that poker media maven Kevin “Kevmath” Mathers will be handling the WSOP and WSOPcom Twitter accounts during the Series. I like to think I’m in the know about poker, but Mathers puts me to shame. If something is happening in the poker world, Kevmath knows about it instantly. He will be a great addition to the WSOP media team this summer.

I Would Have “Purple Rain” on Repeat…RIP Prince

Finally, this isn’t exactly a “digital tool,” but the WSOP has gotten even more lenient when it comes to headphone use at the table. Previously, when a tournament reached the money, players had to stop wearing headphones. Starting this summer, players can wear them all the way up to the final table. As the WSOP warns, though, “….participants aren’t excused from rules or responsibility when wearing their headphones. Verbal commands from dealers, floor staff and other players are part of the game, and headphone wearers are responsible for paying attention to action when in a hand or when events dictate.”

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