On Tuesday, the World Series of Poker released the full schedule of events for the 2016 tournament series, which will run from May 31 – July 18.
While not quite as radical as the changes the WSOP made to the 2015 schedule, the 2016 schedule of events is a nice mixture of tried and true tournaments and new events, as well as some not-so-trivial structural changes designed to improve the player experience that were first discussed during a Twitch.tv Town Hall the WSOP hosted in January.
The Main Event
Where else would I start other than the Main Event?
The WSOP Main Event will once again feature three starting flights, which will take place on July 9, 10, and 11.
The most notable change is an increase in the number of starting chips players will receive, 50,000 compared to 30,000, but they will also see the blind structure changed to offset this, as the tournament will begin with blinds of 75/150, with antes kicking in at level three.
Another new wrinkle to the Main Event in 2016 are some tweaks to the payout structure that began last year. The WSOP has announced that 15% of the field or 1,000 players (whichever is higher) will cash in the Main Event, and for the second consecutive year, the final nine players will be guaranteed $1,000,000.
One other noticeable change — brought on by the presidential election — is the move of the November Nine to October 30, October 31, and November 1, instead of its traditional time around November 10.
Returning featured tournaments
The WSOP seems to have found the sweet spot when it comes to tournament price points, as the schedule is heavy on tournaments with buy-ins up to $1,500, as well as the $10,000 buy-in “Championship” events.
There are also seven specialty events that will be carried over to the 2016 schedule:
- $1,000 Online tournament via WSOP NV
- $565 Colossus II
- $1,500 Millionaire Maker
- $1,500 Monster Stack
- $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship
- $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha
- $111,111 High Roller for One Drop
Here are a couple of notes on the Colossus and registration from the WSOP press release players need to be aware of.
“Each of the six starting flights of Colossus II will reach the money and begin processing payouts immediately within the flight versus a traditional hard bubble on Day 2 of a consolidated field. This will cut any congestion in payouts process significantly and also allow players who cash in a flight or surrendering their stack at the end of the flight, a chance to re-enter another flight and perhaps cash again within the same event.”
Registering for multiple flight events:
“In order to better manage, multi-flight, multi-entry events (Colossus, Millionaire Maker, Crazy Eights & Little One for One Drop), players may only register for one flight at a time in advance. If they are eliminated in that flight, they may go to the cage to register for another flight if they choose.”
There are eight new events on the 2016 WSOP schedule, some far more innovative than others.
$888 Crazy Eights: A four flight, eight-handed NLHE event with an $888,888 guarantee. And if 888 doesn’t sponsor this event I’m going to lose my mind.
$1,000 Tag Team tournament: This tournament features a $1,000 buy-in per team (teams can consist of from two to four players) and allows players to tag in and out whenever they please.
$565 Pot Limit Omaha: The lowest price point for a non-Hold’em event in WSOP history.
$1,000 Top Up Turbo: This two-day Turbo event is one of the more unique events, with quite a few rules, so I’ll let the WSOP explain it:
“As a new event to wrap up Colossus weekend, this unique hybrid event will play as a traditional live poker tournament, but customers playing and cashing in $55 single table satellites on WSOP.com (or live at Rio) just prior to the event will be able to boost their stack to double the starting chips. Visit Nevada’s leading real-money poker operator on mobile or web platform via www.wsop.com/promotions/ to learn how to get extra chips for this event, or visit the single table satellite podium at the Rio.”
$2,000 No-Limit Hold’em: Not really a new event, but a new price point.
$2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball: This tournament will be a mix of three Triple Draw Lowball games, Limit A-5, Limit 2-7 and Limit Badugi.
$1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha: Not much to say about this event.
$1,500 Mixed Pot-Limit Omaha-8/Omaha-8/Big O: This is an intriguing mash up of three Omaha variants that could draw a lot of players.
Other structural changes
The WSOP is moving the start time of most events up one hour. Instead of noon and 4 p.m. start times, most events will begin at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. This change was made to help tournaments finish on time, and to keep final tables from spilling over into a fourth day due to the lateness of the hour.
More starting chips
The WSOP is increasing the number of starting chips in all championship events from 30,000 to 50,000.
In an effort to appeal to casual players, the WSOP is increasing the percentage of players making the money in most events from 10% to 15%, with min-cashes roughly 150% of the buy-in.
Coupled with some tweaks to the blinds structure (see below), by paying more players the WSOP is expecting most tournaments to be “in the money” by the end of Day 1.
In an effort to keep tournaments on time and able to be completed in three days, the WSOP has slightly tweaked the blind structures of most events.
The WSOP offered the following example of these changes: Instead of a 100-200 level followed by 100-200-25, there will now be just a 100-200-25 level.