Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Tradition (?) Continues: 2010 WSOPE Is Underway

World Series of Poker EuropeThis year’s version of the World Series of Poker Europe has begun, with Event No. 1 underway. Have been following coverage of over on PokerNews this morning, and it appears Phil Ivey has an early lead while Tom Dwan is already out.

This marks the fourth year for the WSOPE. Doesn’t take long in poker these days to build a “tradition,” given the rapid pace of things. Heck, anything in poker that lasts four years starts to take on the quality of a permanent institution, it seems.

I wrote something about the WSOPE over on Betfair poker a week-and-a-half ago, a kind of overview of its history during the first three years. And Marcus Bateman has posted a couple of preview articles over there for the 2010 WSOPE as well. Here he discusses Events Nos. 1-3, and here No. 4 & No. 5.

That’s right, five events this time, the most so far in WSOPE’s short history. There were three in 2007, and four in both 2008 and 2009. And remember, these are technically “bracelet” events, the only ones that have taken place outside of Las Vegas since the WSOP started in 1970. That means 62 WSOP gold bracelets are being awarded altogether in 2010.

Besides the addition of a fifth event, the other interesting change this time around (in my view) is the fact that four of the five tourneys are no-limit hold’em. That is to say, in the past at the WSOPE, hold’em was only part of the story, but this year it is most of the story.

Today’s Event No. 1 is a £2,650 buy-in, six-handed NLHE event. Event No. 3 is another low buy-in (£1,075) NLHE tourney. Event No. 4 is a “high roller” heads-up NLHE tournament with a £10,350 buy-in -- the same price, in fact, as the Main Event (No. 5), also no-limit hold’em, of course.

The only non-hold’em event this time around is Event No. 2, the £5,250 pot-limit Omaha event. There had been a H.O.R.S.E. event in both 2007 and 2008, but it was subsequently dropped. And the PLH/PLO event from last year is gone, too.

Makes sense, I guess, to be hold’em-centric when having a short series like this, as it does increase the likelihood of having more players make the trip to London (a relatively expensive tourney stop). Of course, there are a few folks who who already there for the WPT event that concluded last week, and others who plan to come for the EPT one that kicks off at the conclusion of the WSOPE, so that could help increase field sizes, too.

Having mostly hold’em events at the WSOPE does seem as though it alters the character of that series somewhat, making it seem even more distinct from the regular WSOP in Vegas.

Sure, about two-thirds of the WSOP bracelet events are some variation of hold’em, but there’s generally some non-hold’em happening every single day during those seven weeks in Vegas. Which to me kind of helps give the WSOP a different feel, linking it to earlier “traditions” and poker’s history, to the days when stud and draw games once enjoyed greater prominence, and making the WSOP different from just about every other tourney series out there.

Doesn’t prevent my being intrigued to see how things go over the next couple of weeks in London, though. So, as I say, I’ll be following along today over at PokerNews.

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