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.
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.
I want in on the Mystery Bounty Tournament. What fun!https://t.co/3yzUnq6CiP
— PokerPilgrims (@PokerPilgrims) January 24, 2020
Mystery bounty looks sick. Potential problem telling your stakers you only got the $100 bounty. One to play on your own dime people
— Rick Trigg (@theclaimer1984) January 23, 2020
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.
Hmmm a much higher % of prize pool than normal will be going to bounties. Not sure how I feel about that. I guess really good if I hit the lotto and land the quarter milky mystery bounty. And nobody will ever know who got the bounties? You don’t find out until you cash them in?
— pokernews916 (@pokernews916) January 24, 2020
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.”
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.
Love the freezeouts and mystery bounty. The 25k heads up is cool but you should have a smaller one also
— Ryan Riess (@RyanRiess1) January 23, 2020
Here’s a complete schedule of all events released so far:
|Starting Flight Dates||Event||Buy-in||Re-entries|
|May 27||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$1,000||Freezeout|
|May 27||Casino Employees Event No-Limit Hold’em||$500||1|
|May 28||Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better||$1,500||Freezeout|
|May 28, 29, 30, 31||Big 50||$500||1 per flight|
|May 28-31||Casino Employees Championship||$500||1|
|May 29||High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed||$25,000||1|
|May 30||Dealers Choice 6-Handed||$1,500||1|
|May 31||Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em||$25,000||Freezeout|
|May 31||WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em||$400||1|
|June 1||No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack||$600||1|
|June 2||Super Turbo Bounty NLH - $300 bounty/player||$1,000||Freezeout|
|June 2||Seven Card Stud||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 3||6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em||$1,500||1|
|June 3||Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 4||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 5-6||Millionaire Maker||$1,500||1 per flight|
|June 5||High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed||$50,000||1|
|June 5||Mixed: PLO Hi-Lo 8; Omaha Hi-Lo 8; Big 0||$1,500||1|
|June 6||Seven Card Stud||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 7||Forty Stack No-Limit Hold’em (40,000 starting chips)||$1,000||1|
|June 7||WSOP.com ONLINE PLO 7-Handed||$777||3|
|June 8||Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed||$600||1|
|June 8||Short Deck||$10,000||1|
|June 9||Super Turbo Bounty NLH ($500 bounties)||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 9||WSOP.com ONLINE Freezeout Knockout Deepstack NLHE||$800||Freezeout|
|June 10||Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed||$1,000||1|
|June 10||No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw||$1,500||1|
|June 11||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$2,500||Freezeout|
|June 11||Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 12-13||Monster Stack||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 12||Super Turbo Bounty NLH||$10,000||Freezeout|
|July 12||Little One for ONE DROP No-Limit Hold’em||$1,000 + $111||Unlimited|
|June 12||Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw||$1,500||1|
|June 13||Dealers Choice 6-Handed||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 14||No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack||$800||1|
|June 14||Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed)||$1,500||1|
|June 14||WSOP.com ONLINE 8-Handed NLH Turbo Deepstack||$500||1|
|June 15||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$400||Freezeout|
|June 15||No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw||$10,000||1|
|June 15||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$500||Freezeout|
|June 16||8-Handed Mixed NLH/PLO Deepstack||$600||1|
|June 17||Ladies Championship||$1,000 (ladies)
|June 17||High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed||$25,000||1|
|June 17||Shootout No-Limit Hold’em||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 18||Seniors Championship (age 50 and up)||$1,000||1|
|June 18||Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 18||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$3,000||Freezeout|
|June 19||Nine-Game Mix (6-Handed)||$2,500||1|
|June 19-20||Double Stack||$1,000||1 per flight|
|June 20||Pot-Limit Omaha||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 21||8-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack||$800||1|
|June 21||Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$5,000||Freezeout|
|June 21||WSOP.com ONLINE Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em||$500||Freezeout|
|June 22||Super Seniors (age 60 and over)||$1,000||1 per flight|
|June 22||Tag Team (two-person teams)||$1,000 per team||Freezeout|
|June 22||Poker Players Championship||$50,000||Freezeout|
|June 23||Deepstack Championship No-Limit Hold’em||$600||1|
|June 23||Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better (8-Handed)||$1,500||1|
|June 24-25||Colossus||$400||1 per flight|
|June 26||Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 26-27||Crazy Eights||$888||1 per flight|
|June 27||Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em||$250,000||1|
|June 27||Limit Hold’em||$1,500||Freezeout|
|June 28||Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 28||Mystery Bounty No-Limit Hold’em
($1 million in bounty guarantees; $250,000 max bounty)
|June 28||WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Championship||$1,000||1|
|June 29||Mini Main Event||$1,000||Freezeout|
|June 29||6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 29||WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em||$500||1|
|June 30||Limit Hold’em||$10,000||Freezeout|
|June 30||FINAL 500 Salute to Warriors No-Limit Hold’em||$500||1|
|June 30||WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed||$1,500||1|
|July 1||WSOP.com ONLINE High Roller NLH 8-Handed||$3,200||1|
|July 1, 2, 3||Main Event||$10,000||Freezeout|
|July 2||WSOP.com Online NLHE||$10,000||Freezeout|
|July 3||WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em||$400||1|
|July 4||WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Deepstack||$500||1|
|July 4-6||Little One for One Drop||$1,111||Unlimited|
|July 5||WSOP.com ONLINE 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em||$600||1|
|July 6||Mixed No-Limit Hold’em; Pot-Limit Omaha (8-hand)||$5,000||1|
|July 7||High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha||$50,000||1|
|July 7||Bounty No-Limit Hold’em ($500 bounties)||$1,500||Freezeout|
|July 8||Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha ($500 bounties)||$1,500||1|
|July 9||High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed||$50,000||1|
|July 9||Fifty Stack No-Limit Hold’em||$1,500||1|
|July 9||Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/PLO (8-Handed)||$1,500||1|
|July 10-11||The Closer||$1,500||1 per flight|
|July 11||High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed||$100,000||1|
|July 12||Eight Game Mix (6-Handed)||$1,500||1|
|July 12||No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack||$800||1|
|July 12||WSOP.com ONLINE Summer Saver No-Limit Hold’em||$500||1|
|July 13||Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em||$1,000||1|
|July 13||Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em||$1,000||1|