2012 WSOP Schedule Analyzed
The 2012 WSOP schedule was released last week by Caesars Entertainment. Sixty-one bracelet events will be hosted at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from May 27th through July 19th. In a tweet before the schedule was released, Caesars created quite the stir by announcing, "you won't find the November Nine returning." That proved to be little more than a PR stunt, however; the Main Event final table will still be paused in July with action concluding on October 30th. This change was made as a result of the U.S. Presidential election scheduled for when the November Nine would typically commence. Let's have a look at some other noteworthy aspects of this year's schedule.
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More Tables, Three Main Event Starting Days
A staggering 470 tables will be available for play at this year's WSOP, up from the record 378 of last year. This increase in the number of tables has allowed Caesars to consolidate the Main Event into three starting days. For several years now, the tournament has required four starting days to accommodate the large field.
No Day Off During Main Event
Participants in this year's Main Event will need to dig especially deep to find the stamina to survive a deep run. This year's event will feature no scheduled days off. In years past, a day off was generally built into the schedule prior to day three when the field would be consolidated into one group. This year, there will be three starting days (the first is on Saturday, July 7th) followed by two day twos (players from Days 1A and 1B play Day 2A on Tuesday, July 10th while players from Day 1C play Day 2B on Wednesday, July 11th). On Thursday, July 12th, all fields will combine for the first time and continue playing each consecutive day until just nine players remain at the end of play on Monday, July 16th. So if a player from Day 1C were to make the final table, it would be after playing poker all day for seven of the previous eight days.
Five new events have made their way onto this year's schedule: $3,000 no-limit hold'em/pot limit Omaha heads-up event (with 512 player cap), $5,000 no-limit mixed max (9-handed day one, 6-handed day two, heads-up shootout when 32 players remain), $2,500 no-limit four-handed, $1,500 ante-only no-limit (no blinds posted), and $1,000,000 Big One for ONE DROP (11.1% of buy-in donated to ONE DROP Charity).
The made-for-TV $1,000,000 event will be the largest tournament in poker history with likely the largest first place prize in poker history. There are currently 22 confirmed participants for the tournament. [Editor's Note: this event is just obnoxious. Not to detract from the spirit of giving to charity, but the buy-in for this tournament is so large it is completely inaccessible for 99.9% of the poker playing population. Additionally, if one were to play it they would thereby be donating $111,000 to a single charity. That's a lot of coin to give to an organization that might have some disconcerting overhead costs and strategies for solving the problem of world thirst. ONE DROP might be a fantastic organization but it's hard to say with any certainty. There are plenty of highly wasteful, bloated charities out there. For $111,000, I'd want to see first-hand that my money is being used wisely. So it's an unrealistically high buy-in tournament with a burden on any semi-conscious participant to do a bunch of research before they can sign-up to play. This event has "one and done" written all over it. If that doesn't convince you that this is an obnoxious tournament, here's one more tidbit that should do the trick: players receive 3,000,000 starting chips.]
A $1,500 no-limit event will be held with two starting days during the first weekend of June. Players who bust on the first day are eligible to re-enter on the following day. This is a great concept that has caught on in popularity in live tournaments around the world. It's nice to see the WSOP giving it a try.
Non-Bracelet Gimmick Events
Two $560 buy-in gimmick events have been organized for this year. The first will be a doubles tournament on June 30th. Players register with a partner with whom they will take turns playing levels. And on July 6th, a bounty event will be held where all participants who have previously won a WSOP bracelet will have a bounty on their head. There is only one problem with these two events: they should have a bigger buy-in and be on the bracelet events schedule. Why not?
More of the Same
Aside from the changes detailed above, the 2012 WSOP will be pretty similar to those of years past. There's still the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship, it's still going to be held at the Rio, and players are still going to pay millions upon millions in rake to be exploited for Caesars' bottom line without even being able to profit from wearing online poker patches on TV tables. But hey, that's poker.