Things are starting to heat up as the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) opens its doors to thousands of players and fans from around the world. The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino will once again play host to the WSOP which started on May 28 and will finish on July 16 with over $200 million in guaranteed prize money on the line.
This year is extra-special as the WSOP celebrates 50 years of absolute growth – an important milestone in the history of the series. Back in the 1970s when the tournament was founded, things weren’t as big as they are today.
The WSOP has remained on top of its game for the last decade, and this is mainly due to the fact that the brand has refused to stay stagnant. The series has decided to evolve along with the rapidly-changing industry, implementing changes that would benefit not just a few, but the vast majority of players.
Freezeouts and Reentries
Among the most notable changes to the WSOP is its move toward deeper structures and more starting chips, something that doesn’t sit too well with a number of poker purists.
With tournaments being played in shallow structures in the past, it was entirely impossible to have reentry events. A reentry structure just wouldn’t work as the value wasn’t there. However, the deep structures of today allow for reentry, and it is good for the players as they now have the choice to return to the event they came to play. The beauty of the reentry format is that even into the final levels of the first flight, players can still be relatively deep-stacked.
While the WSOP has increased the number of reentry events, freezeouts still dominate this year’s festival with a total of 41 events, representing 46% of the entire schedule. The purity of the freezeout cannot be ignored, said Seth Palansky, Caesars Entertainment Vice President for Corporate Communications. Nothing beats the feeling of being given just one chance to showcase your skills and become a true champ.
By popular demand, single reentries comprise most of the reentry structure on the schedule. A single reentry structure is great for casual players who only take part in one or just a handful of specific events.
The addition of more reentry events is what mostly irked a lot of players, many of whom have been venting their dissatisfaction on social media. While these types of events take the most heat from dissatisfied players and fans, they still make up the fewest number of events on the schedule. They are easily avoidable if some players hate to play them.
The company also wants to stay judicious when it comes to offering unlimited reentry events, resulting in just six events adopting the structure this year. Two of the events with unlimited reentry are the Little One for One Drop, as well as the Crazy Eights event, both featuring massive guarantees. Unlimited reentry events account for only 7% of the whole 2019 schedule and WSOP has no plans on expanding that.
While Palansky admits there might be an unlimited reentry issue today, the structure compensates by boosting the prize pools, something that works in the interest of the players.
Something For Everyone
The 2019 WSOP festival wants to accommodate its diverse clientele by offering a wide variety of options for everyone. This move is beneficial for all players in general and this is what critics should take into account, said Palansky.
Palansky said their clientele has shifted through the years. From attracting just poker professionals, the WSOP now brings in thousands of amateurs as they want to give it a shot. Players from different parts of the world travel to Vegas every year to try their hand on a few events; some even participate in only one. These factors are all being considered by the WSOP in devising the tournament schedule. Based on 2018 figures, a huge majority of WSOP players (81.6%) played a maximum of five entries.
WSOP has been gathering the necessary data to improve its offerings and to make sure something is in store for every player. To those who are still showing resistance to change, Palansky has urged them to take a look at the entire schedule of the WSOP and form their judgments from there.