A few items of note here as I look over the sucker once more.
No Main Event on Fourth of July. This year Sunday, July 4 has been scheduled as an off-day for the WSOP -- the Main Event this year begins on July 5. If you recall, in 2009 the Fourth of July (a Saturday) was one of the four Day Ones for the Main Event (Day 1b), and drew only 873 players, the lowest of any of the Day Ones. That helped create the fiasco that was Day 1d, when 2,809 players ended up playing while hundreds more were turned away.
Then again, it isn’t quite right to call July 4 “off-day” for the WSOP this year, as it looks as though two other events -- Event No. 54, the last of the six open-field $1,000 no-limit hold’em tourneys & Event No. 56, a $2,500 NLH event -- will be playing their final tables that day. And the TOC final table (also scheduled for July 4) will make three. Am glad, though, that the schedule-makers saw the problem with trying to get folks out to start a new tourney -- esp. the Main Event -- on the Fourth of July.
Everyone who wants to gets to play the Main Event this year. Preregistration is open for all 57 bracelet events, and those registering to play in the Main Event will find a section of the form noting how “you may request which First Day you prefer to start.” All four days are listed (7/5, 7/6, 7/7, and 7/8), and one is directed to rank the four days according to preference. “Placement in the event is not guaranteed and will be based on availability,” explains the form, meaning you don't necessarily get your first choice. Also, if you don't indicate a preference, “you will automatically be placed based on availability.”
Seems like not too much to ask, and a simple solution to last year’s problem. There will be those who complain about having not their first choice come July, but those complaints won’t be nearly as loud or significant as what we heard last year from those who were shut out of the Main Event.
The juice. Glancing at the structure sheets for this year’s events, the “juice” -- that is, the amount taken out of the prize pool as “entry fees” and “for tournament staff” -- appears to be the same for most of the events with just a couple of exceptions. For the $1,500 and $2,000 buy-in events, a total of 10% will be withheld this year as opposed to 9% last year.
Of course, those $1,000 events (eight total this year) also have 10% taken out, as will the Casino Employees Event No. 1 ($500 buy-in). The larger the buy-in, the lower the percentages, e.g., the $50,000 “Poker Player’s Championship” (Event No. 2) will have just 4% taken out, just like the $40K event last year. A total of 6% is taken from the prize pool for the $10,000 buy-in events, including the Main Event.
All those $1,000 events. The addition of those extra $1,000 buy-in NLH events attracted a lot of attention when the schedule was first announced. If you recall, there was one -- called a “Stimulus Special” -- last time around, while this time there are six. The Ladies Event (No. 22) and the Seniors Event (No. 34) also remain $1,000 buy-in events.
One might think that adding all of those low buy-in events -- while still keeping the same overall total of 57 events -- might have altered the WSOP landscape, class-wise. That is, are the low buy-in events taking over the schedule? Actually, no. In 2009, there were 38 events with buy-ins $2,500 or lower. In 2010, there are 37. And we’re looking at the same number of $10,000 buy-in events (10), too, plus once again a couple of biggies (the $25,000 six-handed NLH Event No. 52 & the $50K “Player’s Championship).
The clock is ticking. The other thing that TOC announcement has done is made me more aware that we’re only a little over ten weeks away from the thing kicking off, thanks to that Jack Link’s Beef Jerky countdown clock staring you right in the face on the WSOP home page.
Won’t be long. Jeez, I can almost smell the beef, water, sugar, salt, dried soy sauce, maltodextrin, fructose, monosodium glutamate, flavorings, hydrolyzed corn protein, sodium erythorbate, paprika extract, and sodium nitrate now.