In keeping with recent traditions, the 49th annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) is set to be bigger, better and filled with more bling than ever before. Thanks to a revamped schedule and the inclusion of more events, the 2018 WSOP will give away an impressive 78 bracelets between May 30 and July 14.
One of the major selling points for today’s tournament generation is an enhanced online schedule. Following the introduction of the first-ever WSOP.com bracelet back in 2015, the organisers have seen an ever-increasing number of players, both veteran and new, log in and fight for a virtual poker title.
From 905 players in the original to 1,247 runners in 2018’s WSOP online event, interest has grown year-on-year for a few years now. In fact, with three virtual showdowns on the docket in 2018's schedule, an impressive 4,245 entrants has surpassed all expectations of overall tournament interaction.
With the appetite for online poker undeniable, another tournament has been added to the roster this year. In total, players in Las Vegas (and the state of Nevada as a whole) will be able to sign in to WSOP.com and compete in the following four events:
As well as offering a more convenient way to win a bracelet, the online events all have unlimited re-entries. For those used to the high-octane nature of virtual MTTs, this dynamic should provide another interesting wrinkle to the already impressive schedule.
Beyond the battles for online supremacy, the 2018 WSOP welcomes back the always entertaining Big One for One Drop. The $1million buy-in extravaganza is not only a chance for the game’s highest rollers to show their benevolent sides but also for them to take home what’s likely to be the largest first-place prize at this year’s Series.
In a final twist, the embers of action will continue to glow long after the $10,000 Main Event gets underway. Although the Big Dance still forms the centrepiece of this summer’s action, those that fall short of the final table can have a final crack at some silverware. Following the start of the Main Event, 13 tournaments will provide a final flourish of chips, bets and bluffs before the World Champion is crowned.
For those with a few dollars to spare, the $1,000 Double Stack and $1,500 “Closer” with its $1million-guaranteed prize pool offer the most value. At the other end of the spectrum, the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship and $50,000 High Roller are the shining lights in the post-Main Event lineup.
From the top to the bottom, the WSOP looks set to provide some of its most enthralling action to date. The combination of online and offline action will not only give players more ways to win but boost the number of buy-ins. In fact, it’s innovations such as the online series that have helped the WSOP recover in recent years.
Following a dry spell resulting from the Department of Justice’s shutdown of PokerStars et al in 2011, the industry’s largest tournament series has found a way to rebound. Although the Main Event peaked in 2006, the 2017 incarnation welcomed the third-largest field ever recorded.
When America’s Scott Blumstein eventually ousted Dan Ott to take home the title and $8,150,000, a trail of 7,220 players lay in his wake. With the addition of an extra online event and a new post-Main Event schedule, the organisers will be hoping to attract more players this time around and, potentially, elevate to record levels.