On December 12th, the World Series of Poker announced their 2018 summer schedule comprised of 78-bracelet events; five blockbuster no-limit hold’em weekend events, the return of the Big One for One Drop, two new high roller tournaments, nine new events and additional bracelet events to kick off during the Main Event.Poker Central had a chance to speak to WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, who gave us his in-depth thoughts on the biggest poker spectacle of the year.
In prior years, the WSOP released its summer schedule in late January, and Effel explained the WSOP Team worked tirelessly to give players and poker fans a longer runway towards the first event on May 30th to facilitate the planning of their trips to Las Vegas.
“Every year around the holidays players start getting antsy about the World Series of Poker schedule. We realize that a lot goes into planning a trip to Las Vegas to play in your favorite events, and that’s why we made an extra effort this year to get the schedule out before the holidays. There’s so much variety on the schedule that if you don’t look close enough, you might miss something that you really want to play.
“The earlier we can get the schedule out, the better it is for the players. This also helps people coming in for weekend trips with hotel bookings, as well as the people booking homes for their group of friends for the duration of the summer.
“Half the events this year are some form of hold’em, the other half non-hold’em. I think that proves the diversity of the bracelet event schedule, and in addition to that we have a huge variety of side events like the Deepstacks, single and multi-table satellites and cash games. Building on the tremendous success of the King’s Lounge in 2017, we’re excited about the addition of the recurring high roller tournament events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in 2018 on top of it being a great place to play high limit cash games.”
New Bracelet Events in 2018
|30-May||$10,000||Super Turbo Bounty No Limit Hold’em|
|01-Jun||$100,000||High Roller No Limit Hold’em|
|16-Jun||$1,000||Double Stack No Limit Hold’em|
|22-Jun||$565||WSOP.com Online Pot Limit Omaha 6-handed|
|06-Jul||$1,500||Bounty Pot Limit Omaha|
|11-Jul||$1,000||Double Stack No Limit Hold’em (30 minute levels)|
|12-Jul||$1,500||The CLOSER No Limit Hold’em|
|13-Jul||$50,000||High Roller No Limit Hold’em|
Plenty of Action for High Rollers
“It doesn’t matter if you only want to play high limits, low limits, no limit only or only mixed games. There really is something for everyone on this schedule,” Effel said.
Effel emphasized his excitement about the opening weekend and significant tweaks to The Giant, a new event in 2017 that drew 10,015 total entries at a $365 price point. The 2018 WSOP kicks off on May 30th with the staple Casino Employees event, followed by the only new $10,000 event on the schedule.
“We kick off with the Casino Employees event, a show of appreciation to the industry. That leads into the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty, replacing the $10k Tag Team event. We organized a $1k Super Turbo Bounty last year, and after positive feedback, we added a $10k version. Every elimination is worth $3,000 so that’s exciting for the high limit players. I can already see them laughing about winning the bounty of their friends in that event!”
The opening weekend of the WSOP brings in lots of high limit players, and despite the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop not being on the schedule in favor of the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, there’s a $100,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller bracelet event kicking off on June 1st.
No Limit Hold’em High Rollers at the 2018 WSOP
|01-Jun||$100,000||4-day event, one re-entry|
|13-Jul||$50,000||2-day event, one re-entry|
|15-Jul||$1,000,000||Big One for One Drop|
|King’s Lounge||$25,000||NLHE Weekly on Friday at 8pm|
|King’s Lounge||$25,000||PLO Weekly on Saturday at 8pm|
|King’s Lounge||$50,000||NLHE Weekly on Sunday at 8pm|
The Weekend Action at the WSOP
If High Rollers don’t fit into your budget, the WSOP has made sure that the weekends at the Rio are built around a marquee “No Limit Hold’em super event.” Five Friday night’s in a row there will be a flight of the $365 Giant No-Limit Hold’em, while Sunday sports the $365 PLO Giant, a new event on the calendar.
“Last year we started with The Giant the week after the Colossus, but this year we’re giving people a chance to play it beforehand, and every Friday night throughout the schedule. Now you can cash on Friday night, making some dollars for a few entries into the Colossus and other big events later in the schedule. Additionally, in The Giant, you’ll have a chance to bag a stack and return on June 30th when all five flights of The Giant combine for Day 2.
On Sunday night, we have the first ever PLO Giant! This is a $365 buy-in tournament that also has five total flights, one every Sunday until July 1st and then Day 2 on July 2nd. We’re predicting it to be the biggest Pot Limit Omaha tournament in World Series of Poker history.
|02-Jun||$565||The Colossus||$1 million GTD first prize|
|09-Jun||$1,500||The Millionaire Maker||$1 million GTD first prize|
|16-Jun||$1,000||The Double Stack||10,000 starting chips|
|23-Jun||$1,500||The Monster Stack|
|30-Jun||$888||Crazy Eights||$888,888 GTD first prize|
As the popular Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas doesn’t coincide with the World Series of Poker in 2018, a change has also been made to what’s been known as “Senior weekend” in prior years. The Double Stack was added to that weekend, a no limit hold’em tournament with unlimited re-entries and a 10,000 staring stack.
Mixed Games and Championship Events
The biggest change on the schedule for Mixed Game aficionados is an added re-entry option to the following events:
|02-Jun||$2,500||Mixed Triple Draw|
|04-Jun||$1,500||Dealers Choice 6 handed|
|19-Jun||$2,500||Mixed Big Bet|
|20-Jun||$25,000||Pot Limit Omaha|
|26-Jun||$1,500||PLO 8 or Better|
|08-Jul||$3,000||PLO 6 Handed|
About these changes, Effel said, “Based on feedback, we’ve added one re-entry to these events. We realize that these events are some players’ favorites and they are only on the schedule once. So, for us, it’s important to give those players another chance in those events.
All of the major disciplines have a lower and higher track, a $1,500 and a $10k, or a $1k and a $10k. All the $10k Championships remain on the schedule. The only change we’ve made there is adding the option for one re-entry to the $25k PLO, due to the volatility of the event.
The Main Event and Post-Lims
The changes for the 2018 WSOP Main Event are drastic compared to past years due to exciting changes to the broadcast schedule. Effel explains.
“There was a material change made this year based on our expanded coverage on PokerGO and ESPN Networks. Because of this modification, we made changes to our preliminary events and turned some of those into “post-lims.”
“This year there’s continuous play during the Main Event from July 2nd until there is a winner on July 14th. Keep in mind that Day 1c this year is on July 4th, so plan accordingly. If you prefer a barbecue with friends and family on Independence Day, you can always play your starting flight on A or B.”
“The Main Event starting days are July 2nd, 3rd and 4th this year, which is a big change. It’s important I emphasize this, as the satellite days are now July 2nd and 3rd, and people that are used to coming out just for the Main Event will now have a ton of other events to play surrounding the start of the biggest event of the year.”
The weekend leading into the Main Event is going to be crazy with Crazy 8s, the last two Giant flights, a big online High Roller bracelet as well as the Online No-Limit Hold’em Championship, and tons of satellites for the Main Event, and we moved up the Ladies Event to reduce the overlap with some of the other great events happening that week.
“Along with the new expanded coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event, we’ve created a very comprehensive offering of bracelet events once the Main Event gets underway. This is very important to note, as the action doesn’t stop. While the Main Event field will dwindle into July, the action never slows down with a variety of events.”
A total of 13 “post-lims” are on the schedule this year, starting all the way until the end of the Main Event. The 2018 WSOP ends with a bang, as the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop kicks off on July 15th and runs for three days.
The Post-Lim Events
|05-Jul||2 A/B||No Limit Hold’em||$1,500|
|07-Jul||3||Little One for One Drop||$1,111|
|09-Jul||5||Limit Hold’em 6-handed||$3,000|
|10-Jul||6||NLHE 30 minute lvls||$5,000|
|11-Jul||7||Double Stack NLHE||$1,000|
|13-Jul||9||High Roller NLHE||$50,000|
In summary, Effel emphasizes the expanded coverage on PokerGO and ESPN Networks during the WSOP Main Event, giving poker the international spotlight for all to enjoy, and the strong offering of events once the Main Event gets underway.
“This is the Olympics of poker. Every event stands out, has its own personality and format, and we want to give people a sense that they’re truly the winner of something special. Whether that’s The Giant, the Super Turbo Bounty, a High Roller, a $10k Championship event or the Main Event, we want all events to have meaning to the players and the eventual winners, and I think the 2018 schedule turned out great.”
“Our new broadcast schedule for the WSOP Main Event shifts events down, and we came up with a strategy to make things even more exciting. We feel like poker shouldn’t have an ending and this year we don’t have that anti-climactic feeling where the Rio gets colder, darker and quieter as the Main Event gets down to its final few tables. Poker is an everyday thing that we all live, and we want people’s awareness to be heightened and the excitement to continue until the very last card of the summer is dealt!”