Key Changes at WSOP Include Elimination of November Nine
The 48th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) begins in Las Vegas at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in less than two weeks. I've be on site as a credentialed media member and provide updates leading up to the big event and throughout the WSOP from May 30-July 17.
A number of changes have been implemented along with the addition of eight new gold bracelet events.
Perhaps the most noteworthy change is the elimination of the November Nine after nine years of deciding the WSOP Main Event champion in November - more than three months after the main event played down to the final table.
Starting in 2017, the main event will feature live coverage (on a 30-minute delay per gaming regulations) from day 1 of the main event, to be broadcast by ESPN and Poker Central. This year, the final table will resume after only one day off, which will allow for a final table preview show to be aired in order to familiarize fans. Then the final nine will play down to a champion over the span of three days, from July 20-22.
Poker Central takes over as the WSOP's live streaming provider. Poker Central and ESPN have reached an agreement to expand programming from the tournament including live event coverage and original episodes throughout the year. The agreement marks the first time ESPN will air same-day coverage of the WSOP from day one of the Main Event to the conclusion of the final table, a model which will continue through 2020.
"We are thrilled to add the preeminent poker brand, the World Series of Poker, to our growing portfolio of poker-related content," said JR McCabe, chief digital officer, Poker Central. "We have major plans to reinvent the WSOP offering to greatly expand how, when and where fans of the game of poker can watch and engage with the game."
Some additional changes of note at this year's WSOP include:
Clock Rule Change: Designed to increase the hands per hour, improve the experience for the great majority and prevent habitual stalling, the reasonable time to act has been redefined. Rather than implementing a firm "shot clock," we have opted to encourage players and Tournament Directors to more actively monitor pace of play and have staff prompt a countdown when appropriate.
New Events: This year, eight new events have been added to the schedule, bringing the total gold bracelet events to 74. They are:
1. May 31 – $10,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em – 2-4 person teams. 3-day event. (Event #2) – Last year's $1,000 version of the event was a hit and remains on the schedule. But the stakes have been raised with a high roller version to open the official bracelet slate. This event plays each day without breaks.
2. June 3 – $333 WSOP.com No-Limit Hold'em – $333,333 Guarantee. Unlimited Re-Entry. 1-day online event
3. June 9, 16, 23, 30, July 7 – $365 "The Giant" No-Limit Hold'em – Unique event with weekly Friday Night flights at 7pm beginning June 9. Each opening flight plays into the money and any remaining players are paid out an amount equivalent to the last paid place of the night, with their chips bagged and remaining prize pool carried over to Day 2 cumulative re-start on July 8. Unlimited re-entry during each Day 1 flight.
4. June 12 – $2,620 "The Marathon" – 11 a.m. No-Limit Hold'em. 26,200 starting chips, extended 100-minute levels. 5 day event. Event #23.
5. June 20 -- $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty –20-minute levels. No-Limit Hold'em. $300 bounty per player. 1-day event.
6. June 26 -- $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Split 8 or Better – 3 p.m. 3-day event. (Event #51).
7. June 30 -- $2,500 Mixed Big Bet Event – NLHE, PLO, 2-7NL, NL 5 Card Draw, Big O, PLO Hi-Lo, 2-7 Pot-Limit Triple Draw. Event #59.
8. July 1 -- $3,333 High Roller WSOP.com No-Limit Hold'em - 3:33 p.m. 1-day event. Online. Unlimited re-entry.
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