Wednesday, May 02, 2012

WSOP Asia Pacific Adds More Bracelets

Crown Casino and the WSOP have formed a partnershipThis week the World Series of Poker announced that a new series of gold bracelet events will be happening at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. The first installment of the WSOP Asia Pacific series will take place April 4-15, 2013, where five bracelets will be awarded.

Most seem pretty excited about the news, including many players. The Crown has a decade’s worth of history hosting the successful Aussie Millions, and it sounds like at least some pros might make a return trip down under for the WSOP APAC. (That’s the sorta awkward acronym it appears we’ll be using to refer to the WSOP Asia Pacific series.)

Shortly after the announcement, Lance Bradley of BLUFF Magazine tweeted “Coming Soon: arguments amongst poker media about whether or not WSOP APAC bracelets count as WSOP bracelets or not,” adding a hash tag clarifying his position in advance: “#TheyCount.”

Bradley is, of course, alluding to debates over whether or not WSOP Europe bracelets are “real.” By now those arguments appear to have mostly settled into a general acceptance of WSOPE bracelets being more or less equivalent in status to the ones awarded in Vegas. The WSOPE started in 2007 and has expanded over its five years with its new home in Cannes, France appearing to suit many.

The schedule for this fall’s WSOPE has already been announced, and like last year seven bracelets will be awarded. Meanwhile there will be a record 61 events at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas, plus one more bracelet given for the WSOP National Championship. So 69 bracelets total will be won in 2012, which means if the WSOP and WSOPE stick with similar schedules in 2013 we’ll likely see at least 74 bracelets awarded.

WSOP braceletsBracelets weren’t awarded at the first few WSOPs -- last year’s media guide lists 1976 as the first year they were -- although the WSOP still classifies those who won events in prior years as “bracelet winners.” If I follow the WSOP’s numbers correctly, there have been 954 WSOP events from 1970-2011, although there are actually 959 “bracelet winners” since five of those were mixed doubles events (in the late ’70s and early ’80s).

That means somewhere along the way this summer we’ll be commemorating the awarding of the 1,000th WSOP bracelet. When that 1,000th WSOP bracelet is awarded -- around Event No. 41, I suppose (a $3,000 no-limit hold’em event) -- I believe that will mark the 470th bracelet won since Chris Moneymaker grabbed his at the 2003 WSOP Main Event.

By the end of the 2012 WSOPE, the overall total number of WSOP events during its history will be up to 1,028, with more than half (533) having been contested during the last decade (2003-2012).

In the presser about the WSOP APAC, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart mentions a desire eventually “to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker,” a statement that suggests the WSOP is already eyeing a fourth destination at which to stage another series of bracelet events.

Took 43 years to get to 1,000 bracelets. At the current clip it’ll take a little over 13 years to get to 2,000, although we may well get there sooner.

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