Yesterday, Harrah’s announced its schedule for the 2007 World Series of Poker. You can check out the specifics of the schedule here. But here is all you REALLY need to know:
1. This is a pretty good schedule. I like the variety of events much more than in 2006.
2. Day 1 is June 1. The Main Event starts on July 6. Final table day is July 17.
3. There are a lot of events, 55 total. That’s more than ever before and does NOT include any events running simultaneous to the later days of the Main Event. They are running a second bracelet event at 5 PM on 20 days. This raises the question: for an organization that wasn’t paying dealers well, wasn’t attracting the best dealers, faced a dealer revolt, and had a definite shortage of competent floor personnel, HOW ARE THEY GOING TO DO IT? I applaud the number of events and the variety, but it’s all for naught if they can’t RUN the events properly.
4. They are introducing more mixed events, starting with Event #1 on
Event #1, June 1, Mixed Hold ‘Em (limit and no-limit), $5,000 buy-in.
Event #5 on June 3 is Omaha Eight-or-Better/Stud Eight-or-Better, $2,500 buy-in.
Event#16 on June 9 is $2,500 HORSE.
Event #26 on June 16 is $5,000 HORSE.
Event #39 on June 24 is the return of the $50,000 HORSE Championship.
Event #40, also on June 24, is a second mixed hold ‘em event, this time with a $1,500 buy-in.
Event #51, on July 1, is the return of SHOE to the World Series, with a $1,000 buy-in.
I think the popularization of no-limit hold ‘em on TV has stunted the development of the other games, which is bad for poker in the long run. The World Series jumped on this bandwagon, though not to the extent of the casinos that are in league with the World Poker Tour. The Bellagio, for example, has eliminated its schedule of events other than no-limit hold ‘em for its several annual tournaments.
The mixed events bring to mind the high-stakes mixed games, which is the best chance these other forms of poker have of spreading to all the new players.
5. The casino employees event, ladies event, and seniors event are still on the schedule.
6. There is a $5,000 buy-in Heads-Up Championship on June 19. I’ll take some credit for this, thank you, though no one will agree with me.
7. The Rio will again host the Series and the announcement says it “will offer players more space, with up to 300 tables available for tournament and live play.” This will be interesting. Something BIGGER than the Amazon Room? An additional room nearby (or not nearby)? Shoving players closer together, like cords of firewood?
8. The Gaming Expo (a/k/a The Cheap Craporama) is also back, July 5-8.
9. Another new event debuting on the schedule is Pot Limit Omaha Eight-or-Better. Event #42, June 25, $1,500 buy-in. For those who think PLO doesn’t offer enough action.
10. The Main Event: Now that the Rio can accommodate 3,000 people per seating, there will be just THREE Day 1s, July 6-8. Harrah’s is apparently conceding that there will be fewer entries in 2007 than ’06. I know that was a foregone conclusion but not necessarily an inevitable one.
The online sites, as far as I can tell, are still going to run WSOP satellites, giving the winners cash to enter the Main Event (or not). This could be a boon to the sites because they can keep running the satellites (which make money and attract players) but still potentially keep the money on site.
In fact, a lot of players WILL take that money to the Series. I can tell you from experience that once you play in the Main Event, you want to do it again. Even if you play in the Main Event “just to do it once”, you’ll feel you’re missing something if you don’t come back. I know I’ll be playing in it this year. I can’t imagine someone who plays poker and has the funds together NOT playing it.
In addition, Harrah’s owns some casinos with poker rooms, right? What about running satellites out of those places between now and the Series? Instead of those moribund Circuit events, round up all the former online players and give them, at locations around the country, a chance to qualify “legit”. If I truly couldn’t afford to play the Main Event and was deterred by the new law from qualifying online, I’d haul my carcass to the local Harrah’s rug joint (they have one here in the Phoenix area) and wear out their poker room trying to qualify.
Nevertheless, they are set for 9,000 max, though they can always cheat by running a fourth flight on the off day, July 9, or cramming players together 11-handed like steerage, or continuing the abominable practice of seating “alternates”.
11. Harrah’s is continuing the rake the events to beat the band:
$500 – 10%
$1,000 – 9%
$1,500 – 9%
$2,000 – 9%
$2,500 – 8%
$3,000 – 8%
$5,000 – 6%
$10,000 – 6%
$50,000 – 4%