Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 WSOP Dates Announced

2011 WSOP, May 31-July 19The World Series of Poker yesterday announced the start and end dates for the 2011 WSOP summer schedule. Despite all the rumors, they’ll be back at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino once again. No information as yet, though, about particular events or how many there will be.

The press release everyone has been cut-and-pasting says the sucker will kick off on Tuesday, May 31, a few days later than has been the case the last few years. There we also learn that the Main Event will begin on Thursday, July 7 (with four Day Ones, as usual) with the plan being to have played down to the final nine by Tuesday, July 19.

The only other bit of news in the presser is a note about “hard stop times” -- i.e., a new rule for all events requiring that no more than 10 levels can be played in a single day. (Have to assume this rule refers to events with one-hour levels, and not events like last summer’s “Player’s Championship” which featured 90-minute levels.)

The full schedule will be released in January. In both 2008 and 2010 it was mid-December of the previous year when we learned what all the events would be. For the 2009 WSOP, though, it wasn’t until January of that year that the full slate of events was announced.

In addition to those whispers about the possibility of the WSOP changing locations, I had heard some additional rumbling about the Series possibly getting moved around on the calendar, too. But those rumors have also proven unfounded, as the powers that be have decided to go back to the same June-July slot the Series has basically occupied since 2005.

Wasn’t always that way. Prior to 2005, the WSOP had always been a springtime event. From 1992-2004 it always started in mid-to-late April and concluded in early May. Prior to that (when only a relative handful of events were being played), the entire Series was generally taken care of during the first week or two of May. The move on the calendar in 2005 coincided with the WSOP’s move from Binion’s to the Rio following Harrah’s having taken over.

Things change so rapidly in the poker world that anything recurring for more than a couple of years instantly becomes regarded as “tradition.” The “November Nine,” for instance, will be back again in 2011 for the fourth year running, and is now therefore considered by many as kind of a tradition.

So, too, has the WSOP become firmly associated with the sweltering Vegas summer. Not too fun to be stuck outside for very long there during June or July, but the timing has suited me -- and, I imagine, most others -- fairly well.

In any case, I suppose thoughts of those triple-digit days in the Nevada desert can serve to keep us warm here as winter begins.

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