It seems like only yesterday Jamie Gold was marching his monster chip stack to the championship at the World Series of Poker; Chip Reese was taking down the first ever $50K WSOP HORSE event and Mike Sexton captured the Tournament of Champions title. The reality is that we are three months from the opening of WSOP 2007. In preparation for the big show, we want to take a look at the many changes Harrah's and the WSOP tournament staff have in store for the annual migration of the poker world to Las Vegas.
The start of this year's WSOP has been moved up by nearly a month, take note that the date for the first event has been moved forward to June 1, 2007 and pre-registration for all events has already opened. It may still be winter where you are or it may be the height of summer down under but the Series 2007 is on its way.
As in the past two years, the World Series will take place at the Rio Hotel just off the strip in Las Vegas. Rumors of another move of the Series to a different Harrah's property, perhaps on the Las Vegas Strip, were based mostly on issues of space at the Rio but several changes have been made to deal with that concern. First, we all believe the numbers, at least for the main event, will be decreased this year due to the regulatory actions of the US government regarding online poker and therefore, online satellites to the World Series. How this will effect the early events remains unclear and unpredictable by any but the most sage prognasticators, which means there are literally hundreds of prop bets on every possible 'number' surrounding the Series.
Secondly, the Rio management and WSOP staff have been working hard to redefine the available space for the seven weeks of the World Series. The Amazon room will again be 'World Series Central' but with one big change. In 2006 they managed about 215 to 220 tables in the Amazon room; this year there will be 50 more. The new WSOP table count of 275 will be reached by adding a temporary structure outside of the main Rio building. For those who were at the Series last year, this new structure will be where the food tent was last summer. The new room will be air-conditioned, of course, and connected to the main building so you will not have to endure those few moments of infernal blast from the summer Las Vegas oven. This change will bring the seating capacity for all eleven seated events to 3,025 plus alternates.
The main event has been scheduled for three first day flights or 9,075 potential players plus alternates.
With 55 events this will be the largest WSOP in terms of bracelets given out, however unlike last year, there will not be any bracelet events following the start of the $10,000 Main Event. Late afternoon 'Second Chance' events will continue each day but these will not be WSOP bracelet events. We will cover details of the entire 55 event WSOP schedule in a later article.
Another great step forward comes on the chip front. New chipsets have been ordered so that all events being played will have distinctively different colored chips. There will be a separate set for the Main Event, Mega-Satellites, Super-Satellites, Single Table Satellites, each daily event and the cross-over events playing a day two or day three continuation. This will end the concern that chips from one event were being introduced from lower buy-in events into other more lucrative payout tournaments.
A similar decision has been made on the card issue. Last summer there were many player complaints about marked or defaced cards and reused decks. This year the Series will introduce new decks for every bracelet event.
There are several more innovations to be reported on, including: a new dealer orientation and training program plus a similar process for floor staff. We will report on details of these programs in future reports leading up to the June 1st start of WSOP 2007.