The excitement at Paris and Bally’s has been palpable. Not only are the two Caesars properties filled with poker players, the staff is excited as well. Bartenders and security guards ask if people are there for the World Series and if they’ve checked out the tournament area yet. Signage was everywhere for the days (and probably weeks) leading up to the May 31 kickoff.
To its credit, the World Series of Poker staff and PR team had been releasing a great deal of information to make the transition from Rio to Bally’s and Paris easier. There were maps of the convention center spaces and details about what happens in each space.
Day 1 in the Books
On an average year, Day 1 is light. It doesn’t draw too much attention, as it consists of the employee-only event – which appeals to a specific audience – and a late start to another event. Cash games just get going as most players are still en route to Las Vegas or getting prepared for their schedules.
This year was a little different. It was the first WSOP since 2019 that started at the end of May. Not only was it back in its regular calendar slot, it was also free of vaccination and mask requirements.
Players may have tired of the old traditions in the past, but the pandemic forced many of them to realize the importance of those traditions. They missed the regular-ol’ WSOP. And they were more than ready for this year’s poker summer to begin, no matter the worries about the new space. And most of those worries (with the exception of parking) seemed to be wiped away when players saw the new WSOP space.
Credit where it’s due, the @WSOP Day 1 space is light years nicer than the old set up. Looks like they also have a brand new chip set in play! Props to @JackEffel and co! It’s gonna be a great summer. #LFGGG pic.twitter.com/JKfWvaSSch
— GG (@GarryGates) May 31, 2022
Speaking of Event 1, the casino employees turned out in force. There were 832 entries in total for the $500 buy-in tournament. In comparison to last year’s event and its 419 entries, this year nearly doubled that number. Even in 2019, the last “normal” year before the pandemic, there were just 685 entries.
That set up a $349,440 prize pool, enough to pay the top 125 finishers.
Event 2 also started on the first day of the 2022 WSOP. The $100K buy-in bounty tournament for high rollers served as the first time such a high-buy-in event started at the beginning of the series. Last year, there was a $100K buy-in at the end of the 2021 WSOP, and it brought in 64 entries. There wasn’t one at all in 2019. This year, there were 45 entries on the first day with registration still open until the start of Day 2.
What to Expect for 2022 Coverage
Keep an eye on PokerGO for video coverage. They will be handling the livestreaming of some of the final tables – with a full schedule posted here – and some highlights on the PokerGO Twitter account. Some of those will feature the comedic stylings of Jeff Platt and Brent Hanks. These two clips combined that humor with some tours of the Bally’s and Paris WSOP spaces on the day before it all started.
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) May 31, 2022
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) May 31, 2022
As for me, I won’t be on site for the majority of the series but will provide updates. Over on Legal US Poker Sites, I will provide daily updates with the most basic information – number of entries in events, prize pool numbers, top chip counts each day in each event, and final table finishes. On Tight Poker, I will provide more of an overview of what’s happening every few days, highlighting the big stories and giving insight into some of the players and their poker journeys.
Looking forward to an exciting 2022 WSOP!