On July 5 at 3 p.m. PST, WSOP.com in Nevada will host the second annual 25 Seat Scramble. The tournament, as suggested by the name, will award a minimum of 25 seats into the $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event.
You can sign up here and get $10 free, with no deposit needed.
Last year’s satellite was notable for boasting one of the most ambitious guarantees of any tournament, qualifier or otherwise, in the U.S. regulated market. But what truly set the Scramble apart from other high profile MTTs in Nevada and New Jersey was that it – and only it – came dangerously close to eclipsing its minimum prize pool.
Yet, despite the then unprecedented success of 2014’s Scramble, there’s plenty of reason to believe that this year’s iteration will be even more triumphant.
What you need to know about the 25 Seat Scramble
The Scramble has undergone a litany of structural changes, the most notable of which is that this year’s version will allow unlimited re-entries for the first three hours.
Other changes include:
- The buy-in has been reduced from $200 + $15 to $185 + $15, meaning that 1,352 entries will be necessary for the event to hit its guarantee (1,250 counting tournament fees). Last year’s event required 1,250 (1,162 with fees) and drew 1,235, resulting in a small profit for the operator.
- Late registration will last for three hours.
- Blinds will increase every 15 minutes, as opposed to every 20 minutes last year.
- WSOP Player of the Year points will be calculated on a 100x multiplier.
Satellites are now running to the Scramble. The price of entry into a satellite is $5, and each satellite guarantees at least one $200 seat. Unlimited rebuys are permitted for the first 55 minutes, after which a 2,000 chip add-on can be purchased for $4.55. Re-buys also cost $4.55.
Tickets won via satellite can be used for any $200 tournament on WSOP.com in Nevada. However, Main Event tickets won online are non-transferable.
Re-entry format will artificially pump prize pool
Ditching the freezeout format in favor of re-entries was a prudent move. On the merits of this slight alteration alone, I suspect the tournament prize pool to vastly exceed $250,000.
Factor in the Scramble’s relatively fast structure and exceedingly long re-entry period, as well as general player tendencies on WSOP.com NV, and it becomes highly conceivable that re-entries will pad the prize pool by somewhere between 40% – 60%.
In a bottom barrel scenario, expect 1,000 players to sign up for the tournament, and 400 re-entries — equating to a $259,000 prize pool and 25 seats awarded.
In a bullish case, the Scramble will draw slightly more participants than last year (say 1,300) and around 750 re-entries, corresponding to a staggering $379,250 prize pool and 37 Main Event tickets stamped.
My inclination is that the actual prize pool will more closely resemble the bull case, for a host of reasons:
- WSOP NV brand recognition should reach an all-time high this Thursday, when the operator hosts the first ever online bracelet event.
- According to Poker Industry PRO via PokerScout.com, cash game liquidity on WSOP NV is 40% higher now than 12 months prior (although on a dour note, regulated cash game activity in Nevada is down slightly).
- Players are more prone to re-enter a tournament when the prize pool to buy-in ratio is high.
- WSOP NV tournaments have been crushing their guarantees all summer, and there’s little reason to believe they won’t continue doing so until the November Nine is established.
The last point warrants further explanation.
WSOP Online Championship performance a predictor of 25 Seat Scramble success
WSOP NV’s Online Championship (OC) series, a flagship tournament extravaganza spanning 90 events and awarding $535,000 in guaranteed money, has performed so well that it’s difficult to envision the 25 Seat Scramble not experiencing a similar level of success.
Although the guaranteed prize pools for OC events are but a fraction of the $250,000 WSOP NV is guaranteeing for the Scramble, events are smashing their guarantees by 50% – 100% or more, on average. Not to mention, the site’s Sunday major — a $15,000 guarantee with a $185 + $15 price point — is regularly generating prize pools in the $35,000 vicinity.
This suggests a clear willingness by players to register for special events that they deem compelling. And what’s more compelling than a Main Event satellite similar in scope to what PokerStars and Full Tilt offered U.S. residents during the pre-Black Friday era?
For the online grinder who one day aspires to be a world champion, not much.