The World Series of Poker opens its doors in Las Vegas, Nevada in less than two months, and poker players from around the world will be welcomed to the biggest schedule of events in the history of the series.
There isn’t a more anticipated or exciting day for players and fans then the first day you walk into poker’s proverbial summer camp. Even the most jaded poker professional can’t help but get a little excited.
Our WSOP wishlist
Even as the anticipation escalates as we get closer to opening day, there are always a few things on a player’s wish list as they once again head to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino for the long summer grid.
But we were also intrigued to hear some of the WSOP’s wishlist items. So reached out to the WSOP to see if they would share.
“Where do I start on changes we’d like to see,” pondered Seth Palansky, Vice President, Corporate Communications for Caesars Interactive. “Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as dreaming up what would be best and then implementing. A lot of processes are in place because of regulation and law. They often add steps/friction that we wish wasn’t there, but we must adhere to.”
That won’t stop us from dreaming, though.
Quality cards and working bathrooms
Some players will remember the 2017 WSOP for inadequate playing cards and the lack of working bathrooms.
At the top of our list for 2018 are quality playing cards. Last year, the One Drop High Roller was forced to halt play because of marked cards. Players took to social media to complain, and they challenged the WSOP to get new cards. The issue dominated our social media feeds for much of the tournament.
Last year, 120,995 entries competed in the WSOP over the 74 events offered. Only the very best playing cards can withstand that much play. The integrity of the game depends on it.
This isn’t the first time the WSOP has weathered complaints about playing cards. But we’re hopeful for positive change in 2018.
“We expect cards and bathrooms to be non-issues this year,” Palansky told USPoker.
Speaking of bathrooms … A few more flushable toilets and little less smell wafting into the hallways is all we ask.
Eliminate the hard stop
Ever since they implemented the hard stop, there is always a final table that is forced to come back the next day against the player’s wishes.
“We don’t have a hard stop at heads up,” Palansky confirmed. “We have a rule that specifically addresses this and allows for play to continue when heads up. Ultimately, it is a tournament director decision, but we do consult with the players and consider their feedback.”
Leaving it up to the tournament director provides a pretty big loophole. Our wish is that the option to continue play be given regardless of the number of players – as long as everyone agrees. Let the ultimate decision go to the players.
More live streaming
When we’re not playing poker during the summer in Vegas, we’re watching poker. And we want to watch more poker.
PokerGO did a great job providing a high-quality product during their first summer of live-streaming WSOP content. We just want more of it.
In all fairness, the costs of broadcasting at that level is significant. But is it necessary?
A solution might be to combine the full-production live streams with a simpler setup that includes few webcams on the final table. Flip the switch and let it run on Twitch.
This might prevent the outrage expressed at the lack of a live stream for the final table of $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better because it wasn’t scheduled. The final table included Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, and John Monnette. In other words, ratings gold.
Easy and quick registration and payouts
If you play at the Rio during the summer, chances are you waited in a line — or five. There is only so much space and so many employees, and it doesn’t help that most players wait until the last minute to register. Here’s a hint: registration lines are really short at 3 a.m.
The WSOP is acutely aware that long lines may prevent players from playing and they are addressing the issue.
Palansky reiterates that following proper procedures as dictated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board ties their hands. “We must see and verify the person registering the first time they come through,” Palansky said. “Knowing this, we have worked hard to come up with solutions for those that typically play in more than one event.”
The plan includes a digital wallet on the Bravo Poker registration platform. Players will be able to keep their funds in the wallet for the summer. Once the player verifies their identity, they can use the mobile app or kiosks throughout the Rio to register for any event and avoid the lines
Making the money means waiting in more lines. When the WSOP began paying 15 percent of the field, the number of players making the money increased by 50 percent. This caused additional congestion.
“We are attacking our congestion issues on the payout side as well this year, with better ingress and egress plans, newly-designed workstations and issue-specific areas,” Palansky shared. “This should (once everyone is used to it) get everyone in and out more quickly and make the whole operation more efficient.”
Decent food choices that don’t drain the bankroll
Long days at the Rio often means settling for fast and overly-priced food choices.
The Rio Convention Center has a finite amount of space. As tournaments get bigger and draw more players, the available space for things like food dwindles.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on this as well,” said Palanksy. “We expect a better and more diverse offering for players this year.”
WSOP Media Wishlist
A global media presence is on site every year covering the tournaments and presents its own sets of challenges.
Great wifi is an obvious choice, but really what we want is to not freeze in the frigid convention rooms. A 24-hour Starbucks to stay caffeinated would also be nice. That’s not so much to ask, right?
Since this is a wish list, we’re going to go all out and request player tracking devices and an app that tells us where a player is at any given moment.
Before you say anything, the app benefits the players as much as the media.
- No more getting lost on the way to an interview, we’ll come to you.
- Want to know where your biggest competition is? A simple check of the app can let you know where you stand.
- Which working bathroom has the shortest line? Check the app.
Palansky failed to humor us and address this particular wishlist item, but he did say, “Really there is no area we are satisfied with. There can be an improvement in all areas, and we spend the off-season addressing our weaknesses and looking to turn them into positives.”
The sheer size and length of the tournament provides a unique set of challenges. While it might not always seem like it, the WSOP is listening.
“Rest assured, the team we have is experienced, is up for the challenge and is constantly in a continuous improvement mindset with our entire operation,” Palansky concluded.
We look forward to the day when most of the items on our wishlist become a reality. There are two months left to make it happen. Any app developers out there?