Tuesday, February 03, 2015

2015 WSOP Schedule Released

Just a few quick thoughts today regarding the 2015 World Series of Poker schedule which was posted in full yesterday. We’ve got nearly four full months to look more deeply into it, but on a first pass there were three items catching my eye -- not counting that initial response to there being 68 bracelet events this year (!), three more than a year ago.

The very first item to stand out for me was the note attached to the Main Event structure sheet that “players making “the final table of this event will each receive a minimum of $1,000,000 if this event reaches or exceeds the 2014 entry number.” In other words, there will need to be at least 6,683 entrants (last year’s total) for that fairly significant change to the payout schedule to be made. That proviso hadn’t been part of the announcement last week.

While the several new events are interesting to consider -- that $565 “Colossus” event and another low buy-in $777 “Lucky 7’s” event among them -- Event No. 64, the $1,000 WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em event was the most intriguing new addition at an early glance. Sounds like they’ll play that one down to heads-up on Day 1 then try to complete it live the next day, so it won’t be an entirely-online event. Still, I’m remembering back during the latter part of the “boom” (around 2006) when the growth of the WSOP (and poker, generally speaking) was continuing unabated how the idea of an online-only bracelet was first starting to be tossed around.

Finally, the third bit of schedule-related news that raised the eyebrows was the increased starting stacks for all sub-$10K events, something that immediately sent me to the structure sheets to start deciphering what that news really meant. For example, players in $1,500 buy-in events will now start with 7,500 chips instead of 4,500, which like most of the other increases is 66.7% more. But what about the structures -- will they be altered, too?

Remember back in 2009 when the WSOP went from “double stacks” to “triple stacks”? That meant in $1,500 events players began with 4,500 chips rather than 3,000. I remember going through then to see whether the blinds/antes had been altered as well so as to diminish the significance of the change (they hadn’t). (I can’t recall now, but I think when the earlier change from 1-to-1, dollar-to-chip stacks to “double stacks” had been made a few years before that one, the blinds/antes were mostly all doubled, too, which had made that change relatively meaningless.)

Well, a look at the structures shows a little bit of tinkering but not a lot, meaning the deeper stacks will be changing things on those Day 1s. Comparing a $1,500 NLHE event from 2014 to the same in 2015, the only structure differences will be:

  • the removal of the 25/25 level (meaning antes kick in Level 5, not Level 6)
  • the addition of a 250/500/50 level (Level 8)
  • the addition of a 2,500/5,000/500 level (Level 18)
  • increasing the ante from 500 to 1,000 in the 3,000/6,000 level
  • So there’ll be more play at the start, some more in the middle, and perhaps some longer tourneys overall, too, although I’ll let better number crunchers opine further. In other words, the deeper starting stack is indeed a meaningful change.

    Like I say, we’ve got a while to keep looking this sucker over. What stood out to you on a first pass?

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