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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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Top-10 events to look forward to in the 2015 WSOP

9 Feb 2015

By Aaron Todd
The World Series of Poker announced its 2015 schedule last week, and poker players around the world started making plans to make their annual pilgrimage to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to try their luck at winning the most coveted prize in the game: a WSOP bracelet.

There are so many exciting events on the docket this year that it's hard to pick a top-10. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will disagree with my choices — my list doesn't even have room for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship or the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop. Of course that means that the WSOP has done an amazing job of packing the schedule with events that will have people buzzing for the entire length of the series. I, for one, can't wait to go.

10. $1,500 Millionaire Maker No-Limit Hold'em (Event #16)
It's no surprise that this event is back on the schedule this year after drawing a whopping 7,977 entries in the inaugural event last year. The guarantee for first place was smashed, as Jonathan Dimmig took home more than $1.3 million.

This will once again be one of the biggest — if not the biggest — draw of the series, as amateurs pour in to try to turn $1,500 into more than a million, and pros eliminated on Day 1A fire a second bullet on Day 1B to take their shot at a seven-figure score.

9. $1,500 Draft Kings 50/50 No-Limit Hold'em (Event #55)
This event will likely be the largest single-entry event of the entire 2015 series. With half the field finishing in the money, it's very recreational-player-friendly.

In a DraftKings 50/50 fantasy sports contest, half the field essentially doubles their buy-in. There are poker tournaments, both online and live, that follow the same model. However, in those tournaments, play simply ends once half the field has been eliminated. With a WSOP bracelet on the line, the tournament will be played down to a winner.

While it's not exactly clear how the payouts will be structured, it is possible that this tournament will have more in-the-money finishers than any live tournament in poker history.

8. $1,000 Hyper No-Limit Hold'em (Event #6)
A new event for the 2015 series, the blind structure of this "hyper" event is the same as other $1,000 WSOP No-Limit Hold'em events, save for the fact that levels will be played for just 20 minutes instead of the standard hour until the final table is reached, at which point, levels increase to 30 minutes.

This structure will be familiar to most people who have played a no-limit Hold'em tournament for a few hundred dollars at a casino, and things are sure to heat up fast as players won't have time to be too picky with their hand selection.

This is a great event for people who don't have time for a long trip. Tournament officials are expecting to play down to a final table on Day 1, so if you make it to Day 2, you won't mind having to change your flight.

7. $1,500 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold'em (Event #28)
The biggest surprise of the 2014 WSOP is (no surprise) back on the schedule again this year. After drawing 7,862 players, the WSOP got the hint and is once again holding a $1,500 no-limit Hold'em event with a ton of starting chips.

I don't think it will surprise anyone if this year's Monster Stack event is the largest $1,500 event of the series, eclipsing even the Millionaire Maker.

6. $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha (Event #60)
This event, new for 2015, is out of reach for most recreational players, but it's going to be a lot of fun to watch. An eight-handed, deep-stacked, pot-limit Omaha event with some of the sickest players in the game? Where do I find the live stream again?

The tournament is so deep stacked (players will start with 375 big blinds) that late registration runs until the start of Day 2 (when a starting stack would have just 31.25 big blinds), and tournament officials expect the event, likely to draw fewer than 300 players, to last for four days.

5. $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em (Event #43)
Another new event for 2015, this event targets true seniors, as you must be at least 65 years old to register. I think this is a brilliant offering. Traditionally, the WSOP seniors event allows anyone 50 or older to play, and that event is still on the schedule. However, there's a world of difference between 50 and 65.

If you were in your late 30s when the poker boom started, you are now eligible to play in the seniors event at the WSOP. As a result, the level of aggression in the seniors event has ratcheted up a great deal. Many players enjoyed the seniors event for the relaxed atmosphere at the table, where four or five people might limp in to see a cheap flop. This event will have a great atmosphere and I think it's going to be a big hit. I think the only way it could be improved would be to change the game to 7-card stud.

4. $1,000 Online No-Limit Hold'em (Event #64)
I'm sure there are some poker purists who think that offering a WSOP bracelet for an event that primarily takes place online is a sacrilege, but it's a great cross promotion opportunity and a great way to drive traffic online. I'm willing to bet a majority of the players in the event win satellites to get in, and I love that the final two will meet up at the Rio to play for the bracelet.

3. $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event (Event #68)
While the Main Event is the most anticipated poker tournament of the year, it only makes number three on my list this year. This year's new payout structure, in which the top 1,000 players will finish in the money, is sure to add some intrigue, as there will be more people cheering when the bubble bursts than ever before. I love the changes and the winner will still win the biggest prize a $10,000 event offers this year, but the Main Event happens every year, so I'm a little bit more excited about two other events on the schedule.

2. $10,000 Dealer's Choice Six-Handed (Event #67)
If I was given a free entry into any WSOP event this year, I'd play this one. I absolutely love this tournament format, which debuted as a $1,500 event last year. This year, there are two WSOP events with the format (the $1,500 event is back on the schedule this year), and the $10,000 buy-in is sure to be a star-studded affair.

This event might be the most mentally challenging of the series. Being competent in 19 different poker variants, including Big O, Baducy and no-limit Five-Card Draw, and recognizing which of these games are your opponents' weakest, requires a great deal of focus.

I'm sure I'd be a big underdog to cash in this event, but it would be a blast to play.

1. $565 The Colossus No-Limit Hold'em (Event #5)
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, there's The Colossus. This event promises to be the largest live poker tournament ever, with WSOP officials guaranteeing a $5 million prize pool. This event will also likely have more first-time players than any WSOP event in history, thanks to the lowest buy-in the WSOP has offered for an open tournament.

This event is going to have an amazing atmosphere — it will be like an affordable Main Event. Now that's something to get excited about.
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