The event -- the unusual buy-in for which WSOP organizers have linked to the fact that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the WSOP -- is listed as a four-day affair. Structures have yet to be publicized for this summer’s 57 events, but one assumes that the plan to have a four-day event not only means players will start with deep stacks (presumably 80,000 chips), but I would assume the levels will last longer than the usual 60 minutes alloted to most preliminary events. The $50K H.O.R.S.E. event last year had 90-minute levels; perhaps this $40K event will have the same (or even 120-minute levels).
The $40K event is labeled as the “40th Annual No-Limit Hold’em” event -- that is to say, it is not described as a “World Championship” event, that designation being reserved for the “Main Event,” the $10,000 buy-in NLHE event (Event No. 57) that begins on July 3 and ends sometime in November.
Might be picking a nit here, but that means the Main Event this year is the only event out of the entire line-up described as a “World Championship” that does not feature the highest buy-in for that particular game. Just semantics, I guess, but what, then, do the words “World Championship” mean, really? One could argue this little discrepancy kind of wrecks the consistency of whatever distinction one otherwise might’ve made between “World Championship” bracelets those that are non-WC. But I suppose that isn’t much to fuss over.
The fact that Event No. 2 is a four-day event means it will last through Sunday, May 31. The so-called “stimulus special” Event No. 4, the $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event for which Harrah’s/WSOP expects 5,000 to enter, begins on Saturday, May 30. It will be interesting to see who among the top-level pros entering Event No. 2 will also enter Event No. 4 (presuming they bust out prior to Day 3 of the former event).
Of course, as B.J. Nemeth opined on last week’s episode of The Poker Beat (the 2/5/09 show), the event that the $40K NLHE event will most likely have the greatest effect upon will be this year’s $50K H.O.R.S.E. event (Event No. 49). Nemeth suggested there will be a certain percentage of players who will be forced to decide to enter one or the other of the two highest buy-in events at this year’s WSOP, and I think he’s probably right.
If we look at the $50K H.O.R.S.E. event (which started in 2006), they’ve yet to reach 150 entrants for that one (143 in 2006; 148 in 2007; 148 in 2008). One would expect considerably more players to lay out the cash for the $40K NLHE event this summer, including a number of those who would have otherwise played in the $50K H.O.R.S.E. event. All in all, I’d be very surprised to see the overall number of entrants in the $50K H.O.R.S.E. not be fewer this summer than it has been the past couple of years.
How many will enter the $40K event? They were throwing around numbers like 300 on the show, which would create a $12 million prize pool (minus the 9% or whatever the juice will be). Nemeth also suggested that a tournament that size -- comprised of what one expects will be most of the top NLHE players around today -- will in fact most resemble what the Main Event had been around a decade ago
In 1999, the year Irishman Noel Furlong won the Main Event, 393 players entered. The year before, when Scotty Nguyen won it, there were 350, and in ’97 (when Stu Ungar won his third title) there were 312. Again, a good point by B.J.
Will be curious to see how the two bracelets -- the non-“World Championship” one for Event No. 2 & the “World Championship” one for Event No. 57 -- are viewed and compared by poker fans. Particularly if we happen to see a number of high-profile pros make the final table of Event No. 2, and one of those take it down, while none make the final table of the Main Event and the champ emerges from oblivion (as has been the case the last few years).
Then again, there will be a lot of online studs lining up for Event No. 2, and if I had to predict I’d say one of them is more apt to take that bracelet than will a name pro.
In any case, I’ll definitely be interested to hear what the players have to say about Event No. 2, particularly as we get to spring and the idea of plunking down $40K right off the top becomes reality for some.