For the first time ever, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) will award a gold bracelet for an online poker event. On Thursday, July 2, Event #64: $1,000 WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold'em will be open to players throughout Nevada. When the 2015 WSOP schedule was first announced back in February, details surrounding the online bracelet event included bringing the final two players to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino to play to a champion. That may no longer be the case.
According to pokerfuse, the WSOP is currently seeking approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to bring back the final six players.
The WSOP's Seth Palansky told pokerfuse that the WSOP "had concerns initially of getting the players to the Rio the next day to play out the event live," but have since opted to make July 3 a travel day "for any players not in proximity to Las Vegas." Palansky also added that instead of the original plan for heads-up play to be in a live setting, the event should change to have the final six players finish in a live setting on July 4.
When reached by PokerNews, the WSOP declined comment until they receive regulatory approval, at which point they plan to release details.
The 46th Annual WSOP will kick off on Wednesday, May 27 and consist of a record 68 bracelet events. That includes no less than 11 new events such as Event #5: $565 Colossus No-Limit Hold'em (May 29-June 2) and Event #65: $777 Lucky 7s No-Limit Hold'em (July 3-5).
The cornerstone $10,000 Main Event will begin on Sunday, July 5, will feature three Day 1 flights. The tournament will follow a schedule similar to past years playing down to a final table of nine on Tuesday, July 14. Once again, the Main Event final table will play out as "The November Nine" in November, and again is expected to air live on ESPN and ESPN2.
"My favorite part of the schedule is the online bracelet," 2012 WSOP champ Greg Merson, who serves as an ambassador for WSOP.com, previously told PokerNews. "Online has been a big boost for the game and rewarding the industry with a bracelet is amazing."
On the flip side, 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Trevor Pope isn't feeling it.
"I think the WSOP online event is going to be quite overrated," said Pope. "I am guessing the structure is going to be pretty bad, and the thing that the WSOP probably doesn’t understand is that the majority of online poker players prefer to play multiple tables. Saying that, getting all these online pros to sit there and play one table is going to be quite funny to me. I think a lot of these players are just going to be gambling it up and trying to go for a stack fast, so my advice to any amateur deciding to play it — wait for the chips to be gifted to you."
He went on to add: "I personally won't be playing the online event because I will just get too bored playing one table myself and it will be a good day to take off. I don’t think a bracelet should be awarded for this event because the WSOP has history behind it, it's a poker series played at the casino where all you need is a 'chip and a chair' as they say, but this is putting a whole new spin on that because now you need a good computer, reliable Internet, a place to play, and probably some good tracking software. I am just not a fan of this being added to the schedule overall but who knows, maybe it will be a huge turnout and will push online poker in the right direction."
To view the complete 2015 WSOP schedule, click here.