On Thursday afternoon World Series of Poker Tournament Director Jack Effel and WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, along with an off-screen appearance by WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky, hosted a town hall on the WSOP Twitch.tv channel.
During the hourlong presentation, the duo explained several likely changes players can expect at the 2016 WSOP tournament series, why they’re being implemented, and fielded a number of questions from viewers in the Twitch chat.
Here are the highlights from Thursday’s WSOP town hall.
Duration of tournaments
The changes the WSOP is planning to moderately shorten the length of tournaments seemed to go over very well in the chat. The two points of emphasis seemed to be:
- Limiting the hours played on a particular day (Day 2 in particular) to make sure the end time is a reasonable hour;
- Keeping the total tournament length to around 30 hours, so the tournament can be completed in three days, and not spill into a fourth;
Among the things the WSOP plans on doing are the following:
- Move tournament start times from noon to 11 a.m.;
- There will be a slight tweak to the early blind structure that will eliminate a duplicate level (last year’s structure had a 100/200 and 100/200/25 level)
- Decrease the level breaks on Day 2 and Day 3;
- Play an extra half-level on Day 2.
Stewart and Effel estimated the changes would save two levels of time over the course of the three days.
On a similar line, they also made it a priority to make sure it doesn’t take two days to reach the money, something they believe is off-putting to recreational players, and something that should also be off-putting to pros. This would be accomplished by some of the measures they’re putting in place to solve other issues, such as the above-mentioned elimination of an early level and increasing the percentage of players that cash, which I’ll detail in the next header.
When it came to payout structures, Stewart and Effel went straight to asking the community for their opinions on what percentage of the field should make the money, and the minimum amount a player min-cashing should receive.
The general consensus among the respondents, which included several known poker players (Jonathan Little and Dan O’Brien) seemed to be to raise the percentage of players making the money from 10% to 15%, and to drop the minimum cash amount to 125% of the buy-in.
And as noted above, they seemed intent on making sure players wouldn’t play deep into Day 2 before they made the money.
The 2016 Colossus will be expanded to three starting days, with two flights per day. Players can enter every flight, AND players can cash multiple times as the 2016 Colossus will allow players to forfeit their current stack (if you make Day 2 you’re in the money) in order to compete in another flight. This is not a best-stack-forward tournament, if a player forfeits their stack in Flight A and fails to make it through to Day 2 in the remaining flights, they’re out of the tournament.
Incidentally, they noted that the 2015 Colossus had 5,500 first-time WSOP players in the field.
The November Nine
According to Ty Stewart, the November Nine will be back in 2016, BUT, it will not be the November Nine, at least not technically. According to Stewart, because of the presidential election, the dates for the Main Event final table will be moved to October 31 – November 2, which led to a rush of potential portmanteaus of October and November the WSOP could employ. My suggestion is a bit simpler: the Autumn Nine.
You may recall that back in 2012 the November October Nine was held in October.
The topic was broached, and while they seemed open to it (on a limited basis) they’d yet to be presented with what they felt was a usable model.
While they didn’t expressly say this, my feeling is there will not be a shot clock in 2016, and going forward it might only be feasible for televised final tables.