Going Deep: Analyzing the World Series of Poker 2021 Schedule

June 23, 2021
Going Deep: Analyzing the World Series of Poker 2021 Schedule

Poker players received some welcome news this week with the announcement of the World Series of Poker’s complete fall schedule. A hefty schedule lies ahead for players, and plenty of favorites and some new events are planned.

With a little over three months until festivities get underway, USPoker takes a look at some of the tournaments highlighting the schedule.

  • Dates: Sept. 30 to Nov. 23
  • Location: Rio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
  • Events: 88 gold bracelets tournaments, daily non-bracelet events as well
  • Buy-ins: $400 to $250,000
  • Broadcast coverage: CBS Sports, PokerGO
  • $10,000 Main Event: Nov. 4-17

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New events that stand out

With so many events planned this summer, there seems to be a tournament for everyone. Over the last few years, WSOP officials have worked to offer buy-in levels not only appealing to high stakes pros but also mid-tier players and regular joe weekend warriors.

One new event stands out on the schedule. The $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty is set for Nov. 17 and should make for a fun atmosphere.

The event honors the Poker Hall of Fame and the players who have been inducted. The HOF was founded in 1979, hence the buy-in amount.

The tournament also features a free buy-in for all HOF members. That could make for quite a legendary field.

Each Hall of Famer comes with a bounty, paying out an amount corresponding to the year they were inducted. Huck Seed is the most recent inductee, so sending him to the rail would award a player $2,020. A Johnny Chan elimination would score a player $2,002.

WSOP.com unveiled the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit schedule on Wednesday. (photo courtesy WSOP)

This should be an interesting event and what HOF member wouldn’t want to jump in this freeroll? Expect a nice field and plenty of good vibes.

The usual WSOP smaller buy-in, big field events such as the Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, and Colossus also return. All now feature Friday or Saturday starts, a nice addition for players heading to Vegas for a weekend – and possibly more.

The first of these lower buy-in events is a new tournament. After a year that saw live poker shut down for the most part, WSOP officials believed a “welcome back” was in order.

The $500 Reunion promises players a $5 million guarantee and helps kick off the series on Oct. 1. This should bring in a large field after some pent-up demand for tournament poker.

Hitting the guarantee seems very likely and it should be a packed house in the Rio.

Players spotlight some favorite events

Phil Hellmuth played a major role in the upcoming Rush Street Interactive/dMY merger.
Phil Hellmuth is looking for a mixed game title.

No doubt players are ready to get back in the action at the Rio. That includes 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.

The Poker Brat is looking for a mixed game title after some recent big finishes in the format. The second event of the series, the $25,000 HORSE tournament, is already on his list of events.

“I finished second and third in WSOP Europe eight-game mix events in 2019,” he told USPoker. “It would be amazing to win that one.”

Four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias is still looking for his first WSOP bracelet. Along with the return of the series, Elias is pleased with the change in dates.

“It’s always exciting to see the WSOP schedule, especially this year since it’s a bit different timing,” he says. “Weather-wise, I’m looking forward to Vegas in October instead of July. As for particular events, I like the $10,000 Deuce to Seven No Limit Single Draw as well as the high roller events during the last week.”

In 2019, Elias finished third in that 2-7 Lowball event for $109,738. He also finished third in the event in 2017 for $110,944.

The new $1,000 Flip and Go (presented by GGPoker) runs Oct. 10 and has received some interest from players. This event has all players all in preflop on the first hand after receiving three cards and selecting two.

One player wins the table and the tournament then plays out under a traditional structure. The unique format may mean a host of players looking for something to do, as David “ODB” Baker notes.


Mixing it up at the WSOP

Daniel Negreanu is pleased with the more bigger buy-in events to the schedule.

In recent years, mixed games have become more and more popular. The WSOP remains the mecca for mixed game lovers. Six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu is pleased with that tradition and looking forward to hitting the tables at the Rio.

I’m looking forward to a full mixed game schedule and grind,” he says, “and happy to see more high buy-ins for mixed game events, kicking it off with a $25,000 HORSE right off the bat.”

Maria Ho is looking forward to some Dealers Choice poker.

The Dealers Choice has been a part of the WSOP since 2014. This mixed game format has become a fun option for players. This year, the $1,500 version runs Oct. 6 and the $10,000 buy-in is set for Oct. 18.

Poker pro and commentator Maria Ho is looking forward to the latter as well as some bigger buy-in events.

“I always love the $10,000 Dealers Choice,” she says, “and really looking forward to the $25k high roller 8-handed event.”

With a record 88 events as well as numerous Daily Deepstacks events, there should be an event for every bankroll.

Two Main Event titles awarded in same year, broadcasts shift to CBS

Those circling the Main Event on their calendars may expect another big turnout. But that may depend on the ability and desire of international players to travel.

The 2019 version drew more than 8,000 players for only the second time in history. Can the first post-COVID Main Event eclipse that total again? It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

Damian Salas showws off his 2020 WSOP Main Event bracelet.
2020 WSOP Main Event winner Damian Salas.

The 2020 Main Event ran mostly as an online event. In fact, Argentina’s Damian Salas actually won the title in January, meaning two Main Event winners will be crowned this year. It’s quite a unique situation.

This year’s championship features four starting flights on Nov. 4, 5, 6, and 7. Poker fans who can’t make it to Las Vegas can also check out the action this year on CBS Sport Network.

The network doesn’t provide the same reach as ESPN, but the company has promised to beef up coverage of the series. That’s expected to be 18 tournaments including 15 hours from the Main Event.

PokerGO is also expected to again offer extensive coverage.

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Fall weather and sports (betting)

Beyond the schedule, the shift of the WSOP to the fall may be welcomed by many. Summer temperatures in Las Vegas can be uncomfortable, to say the least.

The average high for June is 102 and 107 for July, making for some sweaty Rio commutes. Those daily highs can go even higher, regularly topping 110. It may be a dry heat, but trekking down the Strip is like walking through an attic on a sweltering day.

Fall weather becomes much more amenable for a Vegas poker getaway. October’s average high is a pleasant 83 and only 70 in November.

Sports fans may also enjoy a Sin City poker vacation during these fall months. That includes the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB all underway in some form.

The hometown Las Vegas Raiders will be playing their second season. The black and silver host four home games during the WSOP against: the Chicago Bears (Oct. 19); Philadelphia Eagles (Oct. 24); Kansas City Chiefs (Nov. 14); and Cincinnati Bengals (Nov. 24).

Visitors can also expect several Vegas Golden Knights home games as well. Plenty of players will be looking for good seats before taking a seat at the WSOP.

Sports betting should receive an even bigger push among players than has seen in past years. Cash a tournament … cash a ticket.

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* Phil Hellmuth photo courtesy WPT; Daniel Negreanu photo courtesy PokorGO; Maria Ho photo courtesy PokerStars; other images courtesy WSOP

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