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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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What to expect at the 2018 World Series of Poker

28 May 2018

By Dan Ippolito
2017 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, Scott Blumstein

2017 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, Scott Blumstein (photo by WSOP)

The 2018 World Series of Poker begins tomorrow, with the first of 78 official gold bracelet events at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

This will be the 49th edition of the WSOP, which made its debut back in 1970 when Nick Dandolos and Benny Binion came up with the idea. Neither could have predicted the progression and growth of this tournament. In 1982, there were about 1,200 participants total in all of the events. Last year, the WSOP set a record with over 120,000 entrants from more than 100 nations. Even the number of events has rapidly increased. Back in 1988, there were only 12 events, but in 2018 there will be 78 competitions held.

Not only has the WSOP changed over several decades, but the tournament has also been modified since last year’s event, which culminated in 25-year-old New Jersey online grinder Scott Blumstein taking down the $10,000 Main Event and the $8.15 million first-place prize.

In addition to nine new events this year, there are some other changes in store.

Big blind ante: Eight events at the WSOP will use this format to increase the pace of play. So, only the player in the big blind will ante instead of each player anteing every hand. In this format, the ante will be the same as the big blind for all tournaments and all levels that an ante is used.

Shot clocks: Another way the WSOP is attempting to speed up the game is by using a shot clock in a trio of events for the first time. The three events that will use a shot clock are Event #5: $100,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller, Event #77: $50,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller and Event #78: The Big One for One Drop $1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em.

Shared online liquidity: On the heels of announcing shared liquidity for online players in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey on 1 May, for the first time, New Jersey players will be able to enter official online WSOP gold bracelet events, alongside those in Nevada.

Player of the Year formula: A new formula will determine the 2018 World Series of Poker Player of the Year. Any player who cashes in an open gold bracelet will receive points. However, the number of points and how they are distributed are where the formula differs from previous years. This year, wins and final tables will carry more than weight than in the past.

WSOP Café: Not only are there changes for the players and participants, but visitors and fans will also be able to enjoy expanded food options at this year’s WSOP. These new action stations will have a wide variety of choices, along with re-vamped seating and phone charging stations.

Some of the new events include:

Event #2 - $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty: The first $10,000 event of the 2018 WSOP will be a one-day tournament on 30 May. Each bounty will be worth $3,000, and the tournament will feature 20-minute levels throughout the day.

Event #5 - $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller: Played on 1 June, this will be the largest buy-in in the history of the WSOP for an event without a charity component. It will also be using the new big blind ante format along with shot clocks.

Event #47 - $565 online Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed: The 22 June event will be the first of its kind at the WSOP. It will be played entirely online with unlimited re-entries. The event will not be available on mobile.

Event #67 - $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty: This will be the first-ever pot-limit Omaha bounty bracelet event at the WSOP. The event begins on 6 July with a $1,500 buy-in and bounties worth $500 each.

Event #75 – The Closer - $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (30-minute levels): Featuring a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, this unlimited re-entry event offers three starting flights, a 15,000 starting chip stack and 30-minute blinds. It begins on 12 July.

Besides new events and new additions to the WSOP, there will be many big names in attendance. More than 60 celebrities and 30 athletes are expected to participate, including last year's fan favorite John Hesp.

Day 1 of the $10,000 Main Event is Monday, 2 July and will wrap up on Saturday, 14 July. Last year's Main Event drew 7,221 entries, making it the third-largest in WSOP history, and the biggest field since 2010.
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