WSOP Unveils Some 2020 Dates; Main Event Day 2 Registration Draws Criticism

Sean Chaffin December 13, 2019 871 Reads

The World Series of Poker released some of its 2020 dates on Wednesday. The plans call for the 51st event kicking off May 26 and running through July 15 at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Wednesday’s announcement included dates for the Big 50, which is being carried over from 2019. That was just one of three WSOP officials confirmed with the dates for the Main Event and Seniors Championship also now available.

The Big 50 produced 28,371 entries in 2019 with Femi Fashakin taking the title for just over $1.1 million.

The 38-year-old native of Lagos, Nigeria, who now lives in Orlando, Fla., wishes it had been a one-year event. But he plans on being in the field again next summer.

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“I have no choice, but to try to defend my title,” he told USPoker this week with a laugh. “I wish I didn’t have to worry someone else would break my record so soon, but it’s all good.

“It doesn’t bother me too much. It would have been nice to be immortalized – Big 50 once and done.”

A look at the WSOP events announced so far

Those looking to begin planning their complete summer in Nevada will have to wait a bit longer. The full event-by-event schedule is expected to be released sometime in the first quarter of 2020.

However, the WSOP has whet the appetite a bit of those already looking ahead. Here is what can be expected from the first three announced events:

Starting Flight Dates Event Buy-in Re-entries
May 27 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em $1,000 None – Freezeout
May 27 Casino Employees Event No-Limit Hold’em $500 1
May 28, 29, 30, 31 Big 50 $500 1 per flight
May 28-31 Casino Employees Championship $500 1
June 1 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack $600 1
June 2 Super Turbo Bounty NLH - $300 bounty/player $1,000 None – Freezeout
June 3 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 5-6 Millionaire Maker $1,500 1 per flight
June 6 Seven Card Stud $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 7 Forty Stack No-Limit Hold’em (40,000 starting chips) $1,000 1
June 8 Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed $600 1
June 8 Short Deck $10,000 1
June 9 HORSE $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 10 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed $1,000 1
June 12-13 Monster Stack $1,500 None – Freezeout
June 12 Super Turbo Bounty NLH $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 13 Dealers Choice 6-Handed $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 14 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack $800 1
June 15 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em $400 None – Freezeout
June 15 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw $10,000 1
June 16 8-Handed Mixed NLH/PLO Deepstack $600 1
June 17 Ladies Championship $1,000 (ladies)
$10,000 (men)
1
June 18 Seniors Championship (age 50 and up) $1,000 1
June 18 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 19-20 Double Stack $1,000 1 per flight
June 20 Pot-Limit Omaha $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 21 8-Handed No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack $800 1
June 22 Super Seniors (age 60 and over) $1,000 1 per flight
June 22 Tag Team (two-person teams) $1,000 per team None – Freezeout
June 22 Poker Players Championship $50,000 None – Freezeout
June 23 Deepstack Championship No-Limit Hold’em $600 1
June 24 Razz $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 24-25 Colossus $400 1 per flight
June 26 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 26-27 Crazy Eights $888 1 per flight
June 28 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 29 Mini Main Event $1,000 None – Freezeout
June 29 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 30 Limit Hold’em $10,000 None – Freezeout
June 30 FINAL 500 Salute to Warriors No-Limit Hold’em $500 1
July 1, 2, 3 Main Event $10,000 None – Freezeout
July 2 WSOP.com Online NLHE $10,000 None – Freezeout
July 4-6 Little One for One Drop $1,111 Unlimited
July 10-11 The Closer $1,500 1 per flight
July 12 Little One for ONE DROP No-Limit Hold’em $1,000 + $111 Unlimited
July 13 Super Turbo No-Limit Hold’em $1,000 1

The WSOP also announced a bit of its broadcast plans on Wednesday. The Main Event final will be table televised on ESPN/ESPN2 July 12-14.

“We can’t wait to open our doors for the 2020 World Series of Poker,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said.

“Summer can’t come fast enough, and we look forward to welcoming poker players from all over the globe back to the Rio in Las Vegas to award gold bracelets and hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Online pre-registration for events won’t open until March or April, after all events are determined and approved by regulators.

In September, Caesars announced it was selling the Rio. However,  the company will operate the property at $45 million per year through 2021.

This move is expected to keep the series at the off-Strip property until 2021 as well.

Big numbers at recent World Series events

More than 500 poker tables will once again occupy almost 200,000 square feet of ballroom space this summer. That space has become increasingly crowded in recent years.

Last year’s events featured 187,000 entrants from 118 different countries. A record 187,298 entries participated in 2019, creating a 50-year high of $293 million in prize money.

Lower buy-in events like the Big 50 have helped propel some of those numbers. The series has implemented a two-tier approach in recent years. That include major “championship” events at $10,000 and above and also smaller buy-in events typically with larger fields.

Buy-ins for tournaments at the Rio in 2020 are expected to start as low as $75.

More online action continues at WSOP.com

With a shared liquidity market in between Nevada and New Jersey, online poker will remain a major part of the 2020 events.

The series offered its most online tournaments to date in 2019, with nine exclusive online events. That focus will continue in 2020 and may even include more.

WSOP.com’s real-money platform will be the exclusive online home to win seats into series events. Satellites have already begun and are expected to run regularly throughout the 2020 series.

888Poker remains WSOP.com’s international online poker partner in most jurisdictions. 888 will also offer satellite qualifiers and other promotions to award series seats.

Main Event Day 2 registration draws some criticism

The release of even a portion of the WSOP schedule wouldn’t be complete without some controversy. The series began allowing Day 2 Main Event registration in 2018 and will again in 2020.

Registration for the Main Event remains open through Level 6, meaning all players participating must be in the field at the end of the first level on July 5.

Longtime series commentator Norman Chad noted on Twitter that he’s not a fan of this change. He believes players should be in the tournament more for the long haul.

“It corrupts the integrity of the competition,” he noted. “Everyone should start off on equal footing. Part of the challenge of the Main Event is having to navigate seven days of play to reach the final table.

“You start on Day 2, just to reach Day 3, you spend half as much time on the felt.”

Others disagreed with his assessment. The Main Event features two-hour levels and they argue a missed starting flight doesn’t affect play too much.

The debate raged with commenters weighing in on both sides. The criticism falls in line with many players’ feelings about the growing number of re-entry tournaments.

Some players, including Daniel Negreanu, argue there have become too many re-entry events. Chad was averse to this registration change in poker’s signature event.

“How come poker always rewrites the rules?” he noted. “What’s wrong with you register at the start of play, or you don’t play? That’s how the rest of competitions handle it other than, say, the presidential primaries.”

There should be plenty more discussion as there is every summer. The WSOP will announce more dates in early 2020.

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