Lee Davy shares his thoughts on the main talking points to arise from the annual World Series of Poker media conference call held this week.
You know the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is hiding around the corner when Ty and Jack get on the blower for the annual media conference call. The excitement becomes palpable. You start to sweat, even though it’s cold. The greatest poker festival in the world does that to you.
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, and WSOP.com Chief Bill Rini, were the hosts, and a sterling bunch of journalists, writers, and well wishers gathered together to hear what they had to say.
One of the biggest stories is a three-year partnership with the Global Poker Index (GPI). Alex Dreyfus and his team had a booth at the 2014 event, this year they will inch even closer to the heart of the WSOP after agreeing to power the GPI WSOP Player of the Year (POY).
The deal signifies the end of the WSOP’s long standing partnership with BLUFF. In a press release, Dreyfus said, “It achieves a vision started 3 years ago and will help our expansion in North America.”
The move installs the GPI as the ranking system of choice in the three main global poker tours: WSOP, WPT & EPT, as well as a whole host of other tours that operate on the periphery. The deal will also see the GPI provide unique content on the WSOP.com live stream, provide a specially designed trophy, and organize the first-ever GPI WSOP Player Party.
“The World Series of Poker is the most prestigious poker competition in the world and is also the most “sportified” series on the live tournament circuit,” Said Dreyfus, “We are very honored to have entered into this agreement with the WSOP and I am truly excited to develop several initiatives that will support the growth of the sport in poker.”
I’m in favor of the move. It’s not that I believe the GPI have a more accurate ranking system than BLUFF – I don’t honestly have an opinion on it – but I do want to see a unified ranking system throughout the world. The GPI seem to have that traction, and therefore that’s where my support will go.
In other news, pre-registration seems to be going down a storm. Stewart told the audience that they are experiencing more preregistrations than in the past five years combined. I think you can thank The Colossus for that new record.
Staying on the Colossus theme for a moment, Stewart said he would be very disappointed if the event didn’t become the largest live event in the history of poker. When asked why they were kick starting the series with such a huge event, it was explained that book ending the series with the Colossus and Main Event made sense. It was hoped that the people attracted to the Colossus would get the bug, stay a little longer in the city, and play more events.
I think the WSOP Main Event will also have a much larger field than in previous years. I think interest in The Colossus will have something to do with that, and also the opportunity to qualify online with the likes of 888Poker. 888Poker will send 100 players to the Main Event; Winamax will also chip in, as will Draftkings and 56 licensed WSOP events in live events around the US.
One piece of news that I don’t like is the extension of the November Nine from a two day event to a three day event. It dilutes the flow, and therefore the passion. It’s akin to watching each half of the Champions League Final on different days. Yet I understand their reasoning. They want wider exposure, and that can only be a good thing for the game.
Wi-Fi will be available for you as soon as you walk through the doors of the Rio. Significantly, this means you will be able to play online poker at your table. There will be some sensibility surrounding the use of headphones (for playing online) whilst in the money of a live event. They have also worked hard with regulators to ensure they are white listed from the Nevada Gaming Commission’s “one account per IP address,” restriction.
This is a great idea. Good Wi-Fi is a must these days, and more players are mixing it up with the live and online play. WPT Amsterdam is a great example with players playing live whilst simultaneously playing SCOOP on their electronic devices. The integrity of the live event is never compromised, as will be the case at the WSOP.
Finally, the online bracelet event will conclude at the Rio. The final six players will be invited to play the final table live. Players can qualify for that event out of state (on either WSOP.com or 888Poker), but they must be in Nevada to play in the actual tournament. Once again I think that’s a great idea, and keeps up with the evolution of our game.