Lee Davy breaks down the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) media conference call, which was held Tuesday 13th, May 2pm EST.
Did anything new emerge from the annual WSOP preview conference call?
So if you were expecting anything special you can stop reading right now.
For the rest of you poker die-hards on we go.
The call was handled by the collaboration of Executive Director Ty Stewart, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, WSOP VP Communications Seth Palansky, WSOP Main Event Champion Ryan Riess, and WSOP Head of Online Poker Bill Rini.
The 45th annual WSOP will be handing out 65 WSOP gold bracelets and over $200m in prize money in a celebration of a decade of action at the Rio.
“The Rio has become the heart of the WSOP while Binion’s Horseshoe will always be its soul.” Said Palansky.
So what’s new?
Well the WSOP are planning ahead. They believe there will be more people than ever, and as such have increased the number of cage windows and personnel. They also made a point of stressing the importance of bringing the fun back into the game and talked about the Rio’s new zip line attraction, new chairs, and a whole host of pre-tournament festivities designed to keep the players occupied.
The dreadful food options have gotten slightly better with the introduction of a new Hash House A-Go-Go. By ‘slightly better’ I am referring to those people who don’t mind increasing their cholesterol by a few heart strokes or two.
The buzz around the team could be felt throughout the call. These guys are really pumped up for this one. They believe they will be creating more millionaires than ever before, and that the $10m guaranteed main event will easily surpass last years field.
The $10m tag is one reason cited as the reason for the high expectations, but I feel it’s more to do with the increase in live satellite qualification, and the new tributary of online satellites that are available through WSOP.com.
There will be mega satellites held everyday at 5pm and 8pm for the following day’s events, and a special ‘Grind Room’ will be set up to allow players to play online in between getting their arses licked in live events.
Rini told the call that players would be able to deposit on WSOP.com at the Rio cage; that a full customer support team would be on hand at the Rio to deal with any queries; he heralded a special 100% WSOP Deposit Bonus (Max $1k); and that there would be online satellites available for all types of WSOP bracelet events.
There have already been 100+ seats awarded through the online qualification program and they are confident that as the numbers start to flood into the desert that number will grow. A WSOP.com High Roller Online Series will be held in late May and will feature buy-ins ranging between $200-$500, a $2m Stacked Summer schedule will be announced by the end of May, and there will also be a special SNG Leaderboard during the WSOP.
The introduction of WSOP.com was certainly the highlight of the call, and the biggest thing to happen to the WSOP since…we last had online poker at the WSOP.
Players will be allowed to multi-table in between live and online events as long as (a) the Internet bloody works (b) they have somewhere to charge their laptop before the battery dies (c) they don’t allow their online game to interfere with the action on the felt.
Late registration for most events will be at six levels, the Main Event will offer six hours of late registration, and the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship will offer late reg up until the chips fly into the air on Day 2.