WSOP Catering to Online Poker Players During Series
One of the highlights of last year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) had nothing to do with the play at the tables, though obviously the tournaments contained many big moments. One of the things that had people talking last year was advertising at the Rio for the WSOP’s upcoming online poker site in Nevada. Ultimate Poker, which went live in April of 2013, was the first poker site in the state, but WSOP.com was the name people were really excited about. The possibilities for tournament tie-ins alone was quite intriguing. Launched in September, it hasn’t disappointed, now commanding two-thirds of the market in Nevada and being a major player in New Jersey, as well.
So, now that WSOP.com is established, will it have any effect on the goings-on at the Series this year? WSOP officials addressed these questions on a media call this week and it appears that Caesars is fully embracing this new-fangled internet thingie. Let’s take a look at some of the points of interest:
All the Internet, All the Time
Obviously, anyone visiting the Rio, whether it is to play in the World Series or not, will be able to hop online and play online poker. This is the year 2014, after all. But that is not good enough for Caesars. Oh, no. The WSOP wants those who are there to play in the Series events to fill every moment of their downtime on WSOP.com. Don’t waste time walking from the convention area all the way back to your room. That could take several minutes. Instead, visit the “Grind Room,” where you can take a break from the live tables and relax with the online tables of WSOP.com. The Grind Room will have everything a dedicated internet player needs: plenty of power outlets, its own wireless network, computers for those who don’t have their laptops on them, and other goodies.
But even that is not enough! The most dedicated of dedicated poker players will not even have to sacrifice online poker time in the name of trying to win a WSOP bracelet. Players will actually be allowed to have a laptop or mobile device at the table and play online while they are playing in a tournament. The only rule is that a player may not play online while in a live hand.
Online / Live Synergies
Players not concerned with having a relaxing dinner break will also be helped by the WSOP. WSOP.com will be hosting tournaments that will be timed so that they run perfectly during breaks from the live action. Doesn’t Caesars want people dumping money in the pits anymore?
Additionally, online satellites will run during the WSOP, including the 25 Seat Main Event Scramble, which will be held on July 5th, the day the Main Event starts. The buy-in is $215, but cheaper qualifiers are available. There will also be “next day” satellites online, which will award seats into WSOP events scheduled to take place…the next day.
The Live-Virtual Cage
First, I just want to say that I have always been amused that the cashier’s station at a casino is called the “cage.” I mean, I know why it is, it’s just kind of funny. Depending on the way you say, “I work in the cage,” it can sound either awesome or horribly depressing.
Moving on, WSOP.com players will be able to make deposits live at the Rio – there will even be some cashier lines dedicated solely to this purpose. Now, why would someone want to use the cage to make an online deposit other than for the reason that pocketing your winnings and quitting while you’re ahead just isn’t exciting? During the World Series, WSOP.com is going to offer a 100 percent deposit bonus up to $1,000. Withdrawals will also be available at the cage, but that service won’t be available immediately at the start of the WSOP.
• Late registration will be tweaked yet again to try to make sure people have enough time to actually get into a tournament even if they have to wait in line to register for hours. Many events will have longer late registration periods than last year, including the Main Event, whose late reg period will go six hours. Some bracelet events have also been pushed back from 3:00pm to 4:00pm in an attempt to improve the late registration rush.
• WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel made it sure it was clear that players could have electronic devices at the tables – they just can’t use them while they have cards and once in the money, no headphones are allowed. Any devices also need to be kept out of the way of chip stacks, if that wasn’t already totally obvious.