First, it’s important to know the schedule, which can be found on the WSOP website. The most significant dates on the WSOP 2008 schedule are:
- May 28 Satellites and live action begin in the Amazon Room in the Convention Center at the Rio.
- May 30 First event (World Championship Pot Limit Hold’em) begins at noon.
- June 25 World Championship $50k H.O.R.S.E. event begins.
- July 2 Ante Up for Africa $5k charity tournament takes place.
- July 3 Main event (World Championship No Limit Hold’em) begins its first of four Day 1’s.
- July 16 Final table of the main event takes place.
- July 17 Everyone collapses from exhaustion.
Second, there have been some changes to the location of the various events. Most importantly – for the safety and sanity of all involved – there will be no “poker pavilion.” The tent will not be revisited for any poker action, possibly due to numerous complaints about the temperature regulation, structural stability, and fungus-like odor. When someone like Doyle Brunson, who has played in Wild West conditions over the years, gets up and walks out of a tournament and forfeits his buy-in because of bad conditions, it can be assumed that there is a problem. Players will not be forced to play there in 2008.
However, there will be a tent of some sort to house the new location of the poker kitchen. The room formerly known as the poker kitchen will now be the location of the single-table satellites. In addition, another ballroom will be made available on June 14th and going forward, as that is the day of the start of the first $1500 no limit tournament, one of the biggest fields notwithstanding the main event.
In 2007, the registration lines for some of the events, and particularly prior to the start of the series as a whole, was a nightmare for those trying to sign up. The WSOP decision-makers took note and will allow registration to begin two days prior to the first event – May 28th – and will be open 24 hours a day. During prime time hours, which are being designated as 10am to 6pm, there will be as many as 16 windows for open registration and five additional windows for Diamond/Seven Star members only. In addition, there will be more payout clerks on staff to handle players eliminated from tournaments in the money.
Regarding the schedule itself, there are 55 bracelet events on the list. The main point of interest is that there are eight $10k or greater buy-in events, including the newly added $10k World Mixed Games Championship.
It is very important to note that there will be NO alternate slots at this year’s tournaments. In all events except the first $1500 no limit hold’em tournament (event #2) and the main event, all events will be capped at 2,760 players. Staff is encouraging players to sign up early to ensure a seat into the event(s) of choice.
For all dealers seeking to be a part of the 2008 WSOP, there will be some slots available. Most dealers from the 2007 series will be given the opportunity to work again, but openings will be filled through auditions to be held on each Tuesday and Wednesday from 7am to 10am between March 18 and April 30.
Third, there are some new and updated rules of which players should be aware before taking their seats at any of the 2008 WSOP events. Courtesy of Matt Savage’s interview with WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel on PokerNews.com, the most striking changes are now known to the public.
The “show one, show both” rule was one of the most aggravating to many players, and it has been revised. Now, if a player chooses to show one of his or her cards after the hand is over, the other card may remain undisclosed. Keep in mind, however, that this action must take place after the hand has concluded.
A new rule added to the list is the most interesting. Rule #36 states: “Excessive celebration through extended theatrics, inappropriate behavior, or physical actions, gestures, or conduct may be subject to penalty.” It seems that judgment will be that of the tournament staff as to whether any behavior constitutes a rule infraction.
Rule #43 that prohibited any logos on clothing or hats from displaying a dot com reference has been wiped from the books for the most part. Companies can now advertise their websites with .net or .com on the logos. The lone exception, however, is for online poker sites that accept U.S. business, such as Full Tilt or PokerStars, who must continue to use only the .net logos.
There is also a new cell phone rule. Rule #88 states that penalties will be given for using a phone at the table, whether the player is in a hand or not.
Lastly, players who plan on taking part in the satellites for the main event during the 2008 WSOP should take note of the schedule. Mega satellites will be hosted as follows:
$330 mega Monday – Thursday @ 3pm
$550 mega Friday – Sunday @ 3pm
$1060 mega Daily @ 9pm
Note that the schedule will change from July 2nd through the 5th, as the $330 mega satellites will take place daily at 6pm, $550 mega satellites daily at 10am and 4pm, and $1060 mega satellites at 1pm and 9pm. And on July 6, a $1060 turbo mega satellite is scheduled for 8am.
And for players who simply want to play lower buy-in tournaments, those no-limit hold’em (non-bracelet) events will be available nightly at 7pm for a $340 buy-in.
It’s time to start re-reading those books, watching poker on television, discussing strategy with friends, and counting the bankroll. The 2008 WSOP is just around the corner!