The World Series of Poker schedule is said to be including a team event, which would be the first of its kind on the WSOP schedule since 1983.
The news came when Gregory Chochon, Director of the WSOP for Caesars Entertainment, appeared as a guest on the RMC Poker Show, a French poker radio show, and announced the return of the team event.
While details have yet to be fully disclosed, it is rumored the event will include anywhere from two to four players, each responsible for ponying up a $1,000 entry fee.
Upon hearing the news, World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage parted with his wisdom on Twitter that when he has run these tournaments before substitutions took place after every blind level.
I've always done it with alternating levels and even allowed them to rotate in cash games as well @SuddenlyBryce. https://t.co/LzGvfbGv3hFollow @SavagePoker
WSOP Team Event History
While a team event isn't making WSOP history, it is big news considering it has been 33 years since one was held. All the team events that took place more than three decades ago subbed in players every 30 minutes.
Team events were introduced to the WSOP in seven-card stud format back in 1979 when Doyle Brunson teamed up with Starla Brodie to win one of his 10 WSOP gold bracelets. Field sizes for WSOP events were much smaller back then, with the $600 buy-in event paying just $4,500 as a top prize. Brodie also owns multiple WSOP titles, however, it took another 16 years before she claimed her second gold bracelet when she won the $1,000 Women's Event for $35,200, which was also played in seven-card stud.
In 1980, the $600 buy-in WSOP Mixed Doubles event, for the first and only time until this year, was held in no-limit hold'em format when the duo of A.J. Meyers and Lynn Harvey shipped the event for $7,380 each. The win represented the first of two WSOP gold bracelets for Meyers, and, oddly enough, his other WSOP victory came in a stud event in 2011. Harvey was one and done, as this not only represented her only WSOP gold bracelet, but according to The Hendon Mob was also her only cash in a poker tournament recorded by the site.
For the remaining three years this event took place, it reverted back to seven-card stud. in 1981, Frank Cardone and Juanda Matthews each won $7,800 in this event, which for both players were their only cashes recorded by The Hendon Mob.
In 1982, the event buy-in was raised to $800, when none other than David Sklansky teamed up with Dani Kelly to each win $8,800 and a WSOP gold bracelet. While this represented Kelly's most significant cash, the same can't obviously be said for Sklansky, who currently has more than $1.3 million in tournament cashes. In addition to winning this event, the TwoPlusTwo poker author has two other WSOP victories including winning the $1,000 Draw High event to bank $15,500 in 1982 and the $1,000 Limit Omaha event in 1983 for a haul of $25,500.
In 1983, the final year of a WSOP team event until this year, husband and wife combo, Donna Doman and Jim Doman, shipped the $800 buy-in event for $10,000 each. While this represented by far Donna's most significant cash according to The Hendon Mob, this was just a notch in the belt for Jim who had over $900,000 in career live tournament cashes. Additionally, with the win, Jim added a second WSOP gold bracelet after winning his first during the 1982 WSOP at Binion's Horseshoe (now Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel) when he won $96,000 after shipping a $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em event.
Will the WSOP Team Event Help "Sportify" Poker?
For the past few years, Mediarex Sports & Entertainment CEO and owner Alex Dreyfus has been on a crusade in his efforts to "sportify" poker in order to have the game appeal more to the masses. Mediarex Sports & Entertainment owns many companies poker players should be familiar with, including The Hendon Mob, Global Poker Index, and Global Poker League.
Most recently, the Global Poker League is gaining attention due to the many high-profile players committing to be part of a draft, which includes 12 different poker teams from around the world. Additionally, Dreyfus was involved in the launch of the Global Poker Masters last year, which involved team poker play.
Upon hearing the news of the a team event returning to the WSOP, Dreyfus took to his Twitter followers to display his excitement about how this can help further "sportify" the game of poker.
Excited that @WSOP will have $1,000 Team event, like a tag team format, with a bracelet each player/team. #SportifyPoker #RippleEffectFollow @alex_dreyfus
2016 will be the (1st) year where the concept of Team Poker will really take off thanks to the power of WSOP. #acceptance #sportifyPokerFollow @alex_dreyfus
While preparing for Tuesday's GPL Draft Order Selection Show, Dreyfus shared with PokerNews how the WSOP adding a team event can only help his efforts with GPL and to "sportify" poker.
"WSOP is trying to innovate, and breaking some codes is a real challenge to the status quo," Dreyfus explained. "Which is amazing. WSOP is the window of poker, worldwide. So while not being a cause of it, we are the first to benefit, cause it helps installing the message that team poker is a thing and can be fun, to play [at the WSOP] and to watch [on the GPL]."
Dreyfus added, "For us, it will be as well a great platform to have our 12 teams competing in a team format during WSOP, so it's pretty cool."