Crack open your calendars, poker players. The wait is over. On Tuesday, Caesars Entertainment released the official schedule for the 2014 World Series of Poker. Beginning Tuesday, May 27, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the 45th Annual World Series of Poker will feature 65 bracelet events, including a special Main Event that features a $10 Million guaranteed prize for the winner.
The Main Event is scheduled to begin on July 5 with the first of three starting flights. The $10,000 entry fee will remain the same, but the $10 million guaranteed payday for the winner will ensure at least the second largest prize in the event's history. In 2006, Jamie Gold took home $12 million for his victory in the Main Event. The biggest payout since then went to Peter Eastgate in 2008 ($9,152,416). Last year, Ryan Riess' victory earned him $8,361,570, the smallest prize since Jerry Yang received $8,250,000 in 2007.
The November Nine will return and is expected to air live on ESPN and ESPN2 during a two-night extravaganza on November 10 and 11, 2014.
The 2014 WSOP will kick off with the $500 Casino Employee's Event on May 27, but the opening day will be highlighted by Event #2: $25,000 Mixed Max Event. The four-day tournament will begin with nine-handed action, then switch to six-handed play on Day 2. Day 3 will be four-handed, and the final day will feature heads-up matches to determine the winner.
This year's schedule also includes the reintroduction of numerous $10,000 Championship events. After conducting research and listening to player feedback over the past two years, the WSOP has decided to offer a total of 12 $10,000 Championship events in the following variants:
- 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (May 29-31)
- Omaha Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better (June 1-3)
- No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball (June 3-5)
- Seven Card Razz (June 6-8)
- H.O.R.S.E. (June 8-10)
- Pot Limit Hold’em (June 12-14)
- No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed (June 14-16)
- Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better (June 17-19)
- No-Limit Hold'em Heads Up (June 19-21)
- Limit Hold’em (June 26-28)
- Seven Card Stud (July 1-3)
- Pot Limit Omaha (July 3-5)
The historic $1 million buy-in Big One for ONE DROP also returns to the WSOP after a one-year hiatus. In 2012, Antonio Esfandiari topped a 48-player field to win over $18 million, and this year the field could feature up to eight more players, making the first-place prize more than $20 million.
Two other special events will return to the schedule. The Millionaire Maker will take place on Saturday, May 31, and the Little One for ONE DROP on Thursday, July 3. In 2013, the inaugural $1,500 buy-in Millionaire Maker attracted 6,343 entries, generating a total prize pool of $8.5 million. Benny Chen took down the event, and pocketed a cool $1.2 million.
The WSOP is also bringing back three of its staple tournaments: the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (June 22-26), the Seniors Event (June 6-8) and the Ladies Event (June 27-29). Like last year, men who enter the Ladies event will be required to buy in for $10,000, but ladies will receive a "discounted" buy-in of $1,000. The strategy, which was designed by WSOP organizers to discourage men from entering the tournament, was a success last year as none of the 954 participants were male.
Last year, a total of 79,471 participants turned out for the 62 WSOP bracelet events and competed for more than $197 million in prize-pool money. Tournament organizers anticipate even bigger numbers this year, especially with the return of the ONE DROP event.
"For ten years we have tried to raise the bar on tournament poker," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "There is real optimism 2014 can be our biggest year yet with an anticipated $200 million in prize money to be paid out this summer. With new satellites and daily tournaments exclusively on WSOP.com and a plethora of side events, there is more reason than ever to make the trip to poker mecca."
For a complete look at the 2014 World Series of Poker schedule, visit WSOP.com.
PokerNews will once again serve as the official live reporting team of the WSOP, providing up-to-the minute coverage of the entire series at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will bring you all the action from the felt as some of your favorite pros battle it out in the biggest poker tournament series in the world. Our talented team of bloggers will be providing updates from every event, giving PokerNews readers a full glimpse of the WSOP straight from the tournament floor.
"PokerNews is extremely pleased to be working as the official live reporting partner for the World Series of Poker once again," said Editor-in-Chief Donnie Peters. "Since 2007, it has been our pleasure to work as the exclusive live coverage provider for the greatest tournament series in the world. We're very much looking forward to another exciting summer of champions and helping chronicle another chapter in poker history."