Examining the Leaked 2010 WSOP Schedule
Last week, a schedule for the 2010 WSOP leaked onto the TwoPlusTwo.com and PocketFives.com poker forums. It is unclear how the schedule leaked into public eye; historically, Harrah's releases the WSOP schedule in January. The links to the leaked schedule have since been removed, but while they were live, it allowed poker players and fans to get a glimpse at what you might expect to see at the 2010 WSOP. Here were the major changes:
Eight $1,000 Buy-in Events
Last year, the only open-field $1,000 buy-in event at the WSOP was the "Stimulus Special" that drew an astounding 6,012 players. It seems that Harrah's got the message on the popularity of $1,000 events and is now flooding the schedule with them. To be fair, only six of the eight $1,000 events are open-field events. The other two are the Ladies-only and Seniors-only events and these have always been a part of the schedule with a $1,000 buy-in. Expect poker players to cause a fuss over the excessive amount of $1,000 events saying things like, "it deludes the value of a bracelet!" But poker players whine a lot and this is one situation where they should just shut up. So there's a few extra budget-friendly events on the schedule to entice more players to Vegas. The poker world has plenty of bigger problems to complain about than that.
No $50k H.O.R.S.E. Event, Now a "Player's Championship"
The $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event does not appear on the schedule for what would have been its fifth running. In its place is a "Player's Championship" of the same buy-in. This is slated to be the first open-field event of the year (much like the $40,000 no-limit event was last year). It is unclear what exactly the "Player's Championship" would be, but one could presume it will be a rotating mix of several poker games. This could be Harrah's way of trying to revive the popularity of the $50k buy-in event at the WSOP. Last year's H.O.R.S.E. event drew just 96 players which was about 50% less than in previous years.
Verdict: Thumbs Up
A New Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em Event with a $25,000 Buy-in
New to the schedule is a $25,000 buy-in six-handed no-limit hold'em event. This will take place a few days before the start of the Main Event and will probably have some people questioning if it should be considered the "Main Event". No doubt this tournament will draw one of the most competitive fields poker has ever seen, but I'm predicting right now that the participation is pretty poor. I'll say under 300 players. This is a very sharky tournament to add to a schedule when the world's economy isn't doing so well. Just like last year's $40k buy-in event, expect the participants in this one to be a "who's who" of the poker world. I would be very surprised if ESPN doesn't elect to televise coverage of this event.
Verdict: Thumbs Mostly Up
Main Event Starts After July 4th Weekend
Many remember that last year there was a huge controversy at the WSOP when hundreds of players were shut-out of the Main Event on the final Day One. This was because Harrah's simply didn't have enough seats to accommodate them. Yet, on earlier Day Ones, there were upwards of one thousand vacant seats. This happened because the tournament started on the July 4th holiday weekend. Understandably, many poker players didn't want to play on Saturday or Sunday and instead chose to participate in holiday festivities. This meant everyone wanted to play on Monday (the final Day One) and Harrah's simply couldn't accommodate.
This year, they've taken steps to ensure there will not be such a problem. The first Day One of the Main Event will be the Monday after July 4th weekend (with presumably three more Day Ones taking place on the following three days). By starting the tournament during the week rather than on a holiday weekend, there is unlikely to be a repeat of last year's drama.
Verdict: Thumbs Way Up