WSOP Releases 17 Event Dates; Players Sound Off on New ‘Mystery Bounty’ Tournament

January 24, 2020
WSOP Releases 17 Event Dates; Players Sound Off on New ‘Mystery Bounty’ Tournament

The World Series of Poker continued to slow roll the 2020 schedule this week, releasing 17 more events. The events make clear the WSOP’s focus on freezeouts, but a new “Mystery Bounty” event garnered plenty of attention.

The new tournament involves bounties with unknown prize amounts until that player is eliminated. There will be 100 mystery bounties up for grabs and those range from $2,500 to $250,000. The announcement of the new event created some buzz about the event on Thursday and Friday.

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Big bucks bounty mystery at the WSOP

The $1,500 Mystery Bounty No-Limit Hold’em (as it’s being officially called) is set for June 28 and includes a 50,000 starting chip stack. The guarantee is no mystery – a cool $1 million.

The uniqueness of the event is certainly in the details, however. That’s $1 million in bounties – and no one will know who those bounties are. Once a player busts an opponent, he or she won’t know the payoff until the victorious player also busts.

The WSOP will assign bounties at random and one lucky player will claim a bounty of $250,000. Those who don’t claim a mystery bounty will still earn some cash for an elimination.

Every other “standard bounty” is worth $100. Here’s a look at the bounties offered:

  • $250,000 – 1 bounty
  • $100,000 – 3 bounties
  • $25,000 – 6 bounties
  • $10,000 – 10 bounties
  • $2,500 – 80 bounties

The event will be played as a freezeout, a format the WSOP has made an effort to stress even more in 2020 (more on that below). Many players have complained about the growing number of re-entries allowed in tournaments. Along with freezeouts, the WSOP has also included several single re-entry events as well.

Mixed reactions among WSOP players, some praise

The Mystery Bounty event brings an element of lottery to the WSOP. USPoker spoke with some players this week about the new event and received some mixed reviews.

In an era when players are trying to bring the fun back to the game, some believe this achieves some of that. That includes 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.

“Looks like a lot of fun,” Hellmuth said. “It makes you try even harder to bust people, in case one of them is the big bounty.

“As long as it is purely random, and no one knows who the bounties are, then it sounds like fun. I know I’ll play it, unless I’m deep deep in something else.”

Daniela Negreanu echoed some of those thoughts and feels it’s another way to lure recreational poker players. Many may like the lottery angle and a shot at a big score, win or lose.

“From everyone I’ve spoken to, especially the casual player, this event seems like a smash hit and enough to convince people to fly out for it,” Negreanu said. “With the added element of chance and gamble, having one of those on the schedule certainly can’t hurt.”

Some players took to social media to express their support.

Critics concerned with ‘gimmick’ angle, randomizing payouts

Other players believe the Mystery Bounty may turn into more of a gimmick. Four-time WPT champion Darren Elias falls into that camp. He’s also concerned there might be room for manipulation.

“While I haven’t seen all the details for this event, with things like this it’s of the utmost importance that everything is done transparently,” Elias said, “because there is an opportunity for people on both the inside and outside to manipulate the system and make a lot of money. Interesting gimmick, but I don’t really like it.”

In 2019, Florida’s Femi Fashakin won the Big 50, a $500 event celebrating the WSOP’s 50th anniversary. He took home more than $1.1 million and his first bracelet. He doesn’t like the element of chance involved so much in the Mystery Bounty .

“I don’t think I like the bounty structure,” Fashakin said. “It’s basically randomizing the rewards system. It creates a possibility that one player would end up making way more than most players that finish much deeper. Respectfully, I have no desire to play in it.”

Some players questioned whether there would be a celebration of big winners. That could be a nice public relations shot in the arm for poker as well as provide transparency.

Caesars/WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky said winners would be revealed after being eliminated. He clarified some details on Friday. Players eliminated would draw for the bounty they’d receive before heading to the payout window.

“They will draw in the tournament room in front of the other players, so she or he will be known,” Palansky told USPoker. “We will put in the rules that their names will be public. So yes, I imagine a big deal will be made, you just never know what time of day this will occur.”

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WSOP continues focus on freezeouts in new series

Beyond the Mystery Bounty, there were some other interesting tournaments released. That included what WSOP officials are terming the “Freezeout Series.”

Several events like the Monster Stack, Main Event, and Mini-Main Event will keep the freezeout format. There will be more than 40 events on the schedule utilizing the format in total.

The Freezeout Series six-pack also features events priced at $500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,500, $3,000, and $5,000.

A new $250,000 buy-in high roller event has also been added for June 27. The series has also upped the ante on the annual heads-up championship event.

The buy-in in the bracket-style tournament now goes from $10,000 to $25,000. The event is set for May 31 and the field will be capped at 64 players and.

“New events are always a result of player input and we’re thankful to have received many great suggestions this year,” WSOP Vice President Jack Effel said in a news release.

“The 2020 WSOP is chock-full of new events, new price points, and a little mystery sure to resonate with poker players everywhere. We can’t wait to open our doors in four short months to get things started.”

For online poker players in Nevada and New Jersey, only one event has been announced so far. The series has added a new $10,000 online bracelet event scheduled for July 2. The No Limit Hold’em freezeout event features 30,000 starting chips and 20-minute levels.

Some players were already craving some action and pleased with the newest events.

Here’s a complete schedule of all events released so far:

Starting Flight DatesEventBuy-inRe-entries
May 27Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em$1,000 Freezeout
May 27Casino Employees Event No-Limit Hold’em$5001
May 28Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better$1,500Freezeout
May 28, 29, 30, 31Big 50$5001 per flight
May 29High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed$25,0001
May 30Dealers Choice 6-Handed$1,5001
May 31Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em$25,000 Freezeout
May ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em$4001
June 1No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack$6001
June 1Mixed Limit Triple Draw Lowball$2,500 1
June 2Super Turbo Bounty NLH - $300 bounty/player$1,000Freezeout
June 2Seven Card Stud$1,500Freezeout
June 36-Handed No-Limit Hold’em$1,5001
June 3Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better$10,000Freezeout
June 4Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em$1,500Freezeout
June 4H.O.R.S.E.$1,500Freezeout
June 5-6Millionaire Maker$1,5001 per flight
June 5High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed$50,0001
June 5Mixed: PLO Hi-Lo 8; Omaha Hi-Lo 8; Big 0$1,5001
June 6Seven Card Stud$10,000Freezeout
June 7Forty Stack No-Limit Hold’em (40,000 starting chips)$1,0001
June 7HORSE$3,000Freezeout
June ONLINE PLO 7-Handed$7773
June 8Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed$6001
June 8Short Deck$10,0001
June 9Super Turbo Bounty NLH ($500 bounties)$1,500Freezeout
June 9HORSE$10,000Freezeout
June 9 ONLINE Freezeout Knockout Deepstack NLHE$800Freezeout
June 10Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed$1,0001
June 10No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw$1,5001
June 11Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em$2,500Freezeout
June 11Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better$1,500Freezeout
June 12-13Monster Stack
June 12Super Turbo Bounty NLH$10,000Freezeout
June 12Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw$1,5001
June 13Dealers Choice 6-Handed$10,000Freezeout
June 14No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack$8001
June 14Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed)$1,5001
June ONLINE 8-Handed NLH Turbo Deepstack$5001
June 15Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em$500Freezeout
June 15No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw$10,0001
June 168-Handed Mixed NLH/PLO Deepstack$6001
June 16Razz$1,500Freezeout
June 17Ladies Championship$1,000 (ladies)
$10,000 (men)
June 17Shootout No-Limit Hold’em$1,500Freezeout
June 17High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed$25,0001
June 18Seniors Championship (age 50 and up)$1,0001
June 18No-Limit Hold'em$3,000Freezeout
June 18Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw$10,000Freezeout
June 19-20Double Stack$1,0001 per flight
June 19Nine-Game Mix (6-Handed) $2,5001
June 20Pot-Limit Omaha$10,000Freezeout
June 218-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack $8001
June 21Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em$5,000Freezeout
June 21 ONLINE Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em$500Freezeout
June 22Super Seniors (age 60 and over)
$1,0001 per flight
June 22Tag Team (two-person teams)$1,000 per teamFreezeout
June 22Poker Players Championship$50,000Freezeout
June 23Deepstack Championship No-Limit Hold’em$6001
June 23Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better (8-Handed)$1,5001
June 24-25Colossus$4001 per flight
June 24Razz$10,000Freezeout
June 25No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed$5,0001
June 26-27Crazy Eights$8881 per flight
June 26Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better$10,000Freezeout
June 27Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em$250,0001
June 27Limit Hold’em$1,500Freezeout
June 28Mystery Bounty No-Limit Hold’em
($1 million in bounty guarantees; $250,000 max bounty)
June 28Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better$10,000Freezeout
June ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship $1,0001
June 29Mini Main Event $1,000Freezeout
June 296-Handed No-Limit Hold’em$10,000Freezeout
June ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em$5001
June 30FINAL 500 Salute to Warriors No-Limit Hold’em$5001
June 30Limit Hold’em$10,000Freezeout
June ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed $1,5001
July 1, 2, 3Main Event$10,000Freezeout
July 1 ONLINE High Roller NLH 8-Handed$3,2001
July Online NLHE Super High Roller$10,000Freezeout
July ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em$4001
July 4-6Little One for ONE DROP No-Limit Hold’em$1,000 + $111 Unlimited
July ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Deepstack$5001
July 5Limit Hold'em 6-Handed$3,000Freezeout
July ONLINE 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em$6001
July 6Mixed No-Limit Hold’em; Pot-Limit Omaha (8-hand)$5,0001
July 7Bounty No-Limit Hold’em ($500 bounties)$1,500Freezeout
July 7High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha$50,0001
July 8Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha ($500 bounties)$1,5001
July 8No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed$3,0001
July 9Fifty Stack No-Limit Hold’em$1,5001
July 9Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/PLO (8-Handed)$1,5001
July 9High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed$50,000 1
July 10-11The Closer$1,5001 per flight
July 10Pot Limit Omaha 6-Handed$3,0001
July 11High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed$100,0001
July 12No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack$8001
July 12Eight Game Mix (6-Handed)$1,5001
July ONLINE Summer Saver No-Limit Hold’em$5001
July 13Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em$1,0001
July 13Mixed Big Bet$2,5001
July 14No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed$5,0001

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