The 2018 WSOP Is Underway – What Can We Expect?

By Michael Wynn
Published on May 30, 2018
49th Annual World Series of Poker

The time has come! The World Series of Poker is here! I used to compare the first day of the WSOP to Christmas morning; that’s how amped up I was for the festivities.

I didn’t leave out any milk and cookies, but I did lay out an outfit for the following day’s activities. All that planning, all that studying, all those sleepless nights. It was all for this exact moment.

Now it’s all about showing up to the Rio, putting in the work, and of course, hoping to get a little lucky and win the flips when it matters most. I’m not here to talk about strategy; I know the majority of you are already feeling confident in your games.

I’m simply here to introduce what’s on tap for the next 7 weeks. As the series progresses, I’ll be posting more blogs that share tips and advice on how to make your experience as seamless and easy as possible.

I want to help break down the walls for those of you that may feel a bit overwhelmed by the absolute chaos that takes place in the hallways at the Rio.

For now, allow me to just start with the basics. Some of you might be arriving this weekend in time for the Colossus, and others might just be rolling into town for the Main Event in early July.

Either way, it’s nice to know what to expect before you sit down and get dealt any cards.

Even those of you who are WSOP veterans, there are some changes this year that you should be aware of. I’ll concentrate the next few sections on revealing the biggest variations in this year’s schedule from years past. I want to open your eyes to the endless opportunities that await.

That life-changing score you’ve been yearning for might just be around the corner!

The First Week at the WSOP

is offering more bracelet opportunities than ever before, with 78 pieces of jewelry up for grabs in all.

From the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event starting today to the million-dollar One Drop event on July 15th, you have more than enough time to hit that big score you’ve been looking for.

As far as this first week goes, you get a little taste of everything.

For crying out loud, there is a $100,000 buy-in event starting Friday at 3:00 pm and a $365 buy-in (The GIANT) starting 4 hours later. I mentioned the as the opener, but those of you who don’t work at a casino, racetrack, or poker room will have to wait until event #2 to get your party started.

I’m talking about a brand-new event on the docket: the $10k NL Super Turbo Bounty.

Event #2

Do you like ultra-fast structures? Do you have an extra $10,000 lying around? Well, I told you the WSOP had some new events on this year’s schedule, and that is evident right from the get-go with this beauty of a tournament.

Believe it or not, many of the ladies and gentlemen that can actually afford to play these large ($10,000+) buy-in tournaments prefer a more rapid structure.

Do you really think a wealthy businessman or CEO has 4 or 5 days to sit around a poker table exchanging stares with some 20-something who plays a GTO strategy?

I can tell you the answer is no, and it’s the reason why Jack Effel (WSOP Tournament Director) and his staff implemented an event like this right away on day 1.

Most $10k buy-ins have a slow-paced structure that drags out for 4 or more days. The WSOP Main Event starts on July 2nd and won’t even reach a final table until sometime in the wee hours of the morning on July 12th.

For many people, that’s just too long and too much poker.

The way this event works is that every time you knock a player out, you receive their “bounty,” which is worth $3,000 in real money.

For example, let’s say you get knocked out of the tournament before the money bubble reaches, but you had knocked out 2 opponents previous to busting. Despite not cashing, you would still walk away with $6,000, earning 60% of the original buy-in back. Pretty cool huh?

Event #2 will start at 3:00 pm today and will play down until a winner is crowned. That’s right – by tomorrow morning, someone will have already won a bracelet and the serious wad of cash that’s going to come with it.

I think adding this event and positioning it on day 1 was a great idea and a great sales tactic. The World Series of Poker wants to attract as many people as possible, and they want them here and playing as long as their wallets and minds can handle the inevitable swings.

Showing the poker community that they care about players of all shapes and sizes during the first week of the festival is something that should be applauded.

Whether you will be playing the $10k Super Turbo Bounty or you are just taking your shot at the Colossus (event #7 $565 buy-in), the felt tables are there for the taking.

The Rest of Week 1

Those that are skipping the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty might be waiting for event #3, the $3k NL shootout. If you aren’t familiar with what a “shootout tournament” is or . Last year, this tournament took 3 days to complete, and Upeshka De Silva took home the grand prize of a shade under $230k.

Later in the day is the start of the fourth event on the WSOP summer schedule, the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better.

The mixed games aren’t nearly as popular as the No-Limit Hold’em events, but this event attracted 905 players last year and boasted a prize pool of over $1.2 million.

The First Weekend

Now, I know the official WSOP schedule starts today, but Friday marks the start of the first weekend at the WSOP. Saturday afternoon could be the busiest day of the entire summer in terms of actual foot traffic on the property.

I’m not talking about the poker fans that will be looking for autographs from their favorite personalities at day 2 of event #5, the $100,000 High Roller event.

I’m not even talking about the plethora of men and women that will be scurrying down the hallways looking for some cash game action after busting out of the first flight of the Giant (event #6).

I’m talking about the start of the Colossus. The first flight of event #7 is slated to kick off at 10:00 am on June 2nd, with the second flight “shuffle up and dealing” at 7:00 pm. If you can’t make it, all is not lost.

The following day is essentially a copycat, with flights C and D starting at the same times as the previous day. All players are allowed one entry PER FLIGHT. Allow me to reiterate because I know many of you are wondering and will be asking the question.

If you play Flight A of the Colossus and bust out, you MAY NOT re-enter the same flight; however, you are allowed to enter subsequent flights.

Essentially, you can bust out of the Colossus three times and still end up winning the tournament. Listen, if folks are going to come all the way to Las Vegas for a big poker tournament, at least give them a few opportunities to cash.

Despite the purists being unhappy with these “re-entry formats,” I can certainly understand why the WSOP does this. They try and keep all players in mind, not just the hardcore professionals.

Last year, the Colossus had more than 18,000 entries, which was actually down from the 21,613 that showed up for the inaugural Colossus in 2016.

I expect the number to fall right around the 20,000 mark and expect the prize pool to exceed $10 million. They have guaranteed 7 figures to the winner – again, another great selling point.

You tell a bunch of aspiring poker players that they can win a million bucks in a $565 buy-in tournament?

You bet your bottom dollar they’ll come stampeding in in bunches.

It’s a Summer Full of Opportunities

If you plan on spending the entire summer in Vegas “chasing the dream,” surely you have studied the schedule and have your spots picked out. Obviously, there are numerous opportunities to hit that 6-figure score outside of the Rio, and these chances are growing.

Between the Venetian, Planet Hollywood, the Wynn, and other Las-Vegas based casinos, there is an abundance of tournaments each and every day until the middle of July. Cash game players need not worry because the action will be going 24/7 for the next month and a half.

The biggest concern might be avoiding the ridiculously long waits that will be typical over the series, especially over the weekends. I’ll be releasing a blog soon that helps you get prepared so that you can attack your summer poker schedule with the utmost efficiency.

I’ll also be talking about the rest of the WSOP schedule in great depth, but I want to quickly just point out one of the glaring changes this year.

More Chances After the Main Event

In years past, the WSOP Main Event was either the last event on the schedule or the second to last. It’s great in theory, as you always want your flagship event as the culminating tournament. They want as much buildup as possible, and I get that.

But after some consideration, they realized they could make improvements.

This time around, the Main Event is event #65 and starts on July 2nd. The new amendments to the schedule will directly reflect those players who come up short in their quest to be crowned Main Event champ.

Rather than chalking it up as a fun time and heading home, Effel and his tournament operators decided to add 13 more events and allow men and women to continue chasing that elusive big score.

As someone who has played and busted the main event in the past and wished there were more possibilities of winning a bracelet, I think this change is for the better.

Expect this to also boost the crowd support during the final stages of the Main Event, as the poker industry will now be sticking around through the middle of July, not hopping on the first plane in disgust after their Main Event dream comes to a screeching halt.

Recap/Look Ahead

Are you already here in Vegas, locked and loaded to get this thing started? Poker enthusiasts that are here for opening day are the ones who have been looking forward to this day for months.

Those of you who have had this day circled on your calendars can finally breathe a big sigh of relief.

The 2018 World Series of Poker is officially underway; the proceedings have begun. I’ll be checking back in throughout the series to keep you in the loop on what’s going on and what you need to do to make this summer the most successful one yet!

In the meantime, play solid, play smart, and don’t be afraid to push the chips in the middle!

The 2018 WSOP Is Underway - What Can We Expect?
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The 2018 WSOP Is Underway - What Can We Expect?
The 2018 WSOP is underway, and it’s time to make some serious money. Here’s a brief intro to what’s on tap for the first week at the Rio.
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