World Series of Poker brass released the eagerly-awaited 2016 schedule, featuring a number of changes including new events, scratched events, and one major notable teaser.
The schedule, which can be viewed in full here, outlines a total of 69 gold bracelet events, starting with Event #1: $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold'em on June 1. The final bracelet event of the series will not be the Main Event, as has traditionally been the case, but the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, which begins July 12. Satellite, cash, and Daily Deepstack action will begin May 31 and run throughout the series.
More Chips, More Places Paid
The Main Event kicks off on July 9 with the first of the usual three starting flights. A major change to this year's Main Event, which will affect all $10,000 championship events, is an increase in starting chips from 30,000 to 50,000. Last year, the WSOP increased the starting stacks to five-times the buy-in for most of the non-championship events, and that change will stick with all events. Additionally, the WSOP will be flattening prize structures to pay out roughly 15 percent of the field, rather than the old standard of 10 percent. This change is unlikely to have a major effect on the Main Event though, since 1,000 paid places were already guaranteed and attendance has been consistently around 6,500 in recent years.
"By paying 50-percent more entrants and reaching the money earlier, we anticipate the 2016 WSOP to be the most rewarding yet," WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel said in the press release. "Our schedule this year really runs the gamut for all levels of poker enthusiasts, so we hope you will peruse the events and make your plans to join us this summer at the Rio."
Featured and New Events
Other major events returning for 2016 include the $565 Colossus, the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, the $1,500 Monster Stack, the $50,000 Poker Players' Championship, the $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha, and the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop.
In the press release from the WSOP, eight new events are highlighted. Among the more notable additions since last year are a $565 Pot-Limit Omaha event — likely a reaction to the clear demand for lower buy-in events after the overwhelming success of the Colossus — and a $1,000 Tag Team event that allows teams of up to four players, with each member receiving a bracelet. Though it's billed as a new event, there's actually been a team event in the past, but it hasn't run since 1983.
Earlier Start Times
Another change to the overall schedule of the WSOP is revamped starting times. In years past, things generally kicked off at noon or at 4 p.m. This year, things have been bumped up one hour to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., though there are still a handful of events with non-standard start times. Additionally, the press release noted that some structures have undergone slight changes "in an effort to aid events meeting scheduled duration." This may mean slightly faster structures, and players are encourage to review events individually.
One game that has been a standard part of the schedule in years past has completely disappeared with the exception of some mixed games. Pot-limit hold'em bracelets appear to be a thing of the past. In 2015, PokerNews Editor-in-Chief Donnie Peters called for the variant to be replaced on the schedule, and it appears WSOP brass agreed that this particular poker variant has lost its appeal as both the $1,500 event and $10,000 event are absent.
No $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop?
Ever since 2012, the WSOP has held the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop every other year. For the time being, the WSOP is sticking with just the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop on its schedule, but it doesn't completely appear to be the end of the line for the huge, seven-figure spectacle, as the press release hinted at a planned return. The event will apparently be held some time this year "in grand fashion" with details to be announced "soon."