Beginning Wednesday, May 29, a field that last year consisted of nearly 75,000 will hit 480 poker tables at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to bluff and fold their way through 62 events running until July 15.
The WSOP is ready:
The world's most accomplished pros and the hopeful amateurs will battle in a wide array of events that have buy-ins as low as $500 and as high as $111,111.
The richest buy-in replaces last year's Big One for One Drop event. The One Drop High Roller event—much like last year's—will donate the house fees to the One Drop charity.
Still, it is the main event that draws the bulk of the attention. I'll touch on that and other tournament highlights after noting the schedule of events.
WSOP.com takes you right to the ESPN3 stream, and they feature the final table of an event for almost every day of play.
View the full schedule on WSOP.com and the following highlighted events below:
|June 1||6A||"Millionaire Maker" No-Limit Hold'em||$1,500|
|June 7||15||Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em||$10,000|
|June 14||27||Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship||$1,000|
|June 23||43||2-7 Draw Lowball||$10,000|
|June 26||47||One Drop High Rollers No-Limit Hold’em||$111,111|
|June 28||51||Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship||$10,000/$1,000|
|June 30||55||The Poker Players Championship||$50,000|
|July 3||58A||The Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold’em||$1,111|
|July 6||62A||No-Limit Hold'em Main Event||$10,000|
The Main Event
Yep, that's right—that video is part seven of last year's final table at the Main Event and it's four hours long.
The intense battle for the WSOP's ultimate jackpot wound up lasting over 11 hours, as 24-year-old Maryland poker professional Greg Merson won the cherished bracelet and $8.53 million to go along with it.
The final table at this year's Main Event probably won't be quite as grueling, but you never know.
This is the most prestigious event in poker. It will start over three days with three flights beginning on July 6, and will run until the final table is decided on June 15. Play will then pause until Nov. 4.
The need for the flights is due to the giant field, with a $10,000 buy-in draw. Last year, the field consisted of 6,598.
Even this setting, which is captured by acescracked57 on Instagram, can't fit everyone in on one day:
Other Events Worth Noting
The Millionaire Maker
A $1,500 buy-in will give players a chance at a $1 million payout in this exciting tournament. This will set the record for a payout in a WSOP event with a $1,500 buy-in.
Participation should be huge, and it could even push the main event for the highest total at this year's WSOP.
Ladies No-Limit Hold 'em Championship
It is harder to hold an all-female championship than you might think. With anti-discrimination laws dictating that men cannot be prevented from competing, there have been a few males to participate in this event over the years. Just two years ago, a man made the final table.
The WSOP has tried different things to dissuade men from playing in this event, and I do believe they found an effective one this year. The buy-in for this event has been pushed up to $10,000. Of course, all ladies will receive a $9,000 discount.
The Little One for One Drop
You don't have to be a high roller this year to help the One Drop charity. There is a tournament using the same format as its richer counterpart.
It will also feature a buy-in with all ones. There is a $1,111 buy-in for this event, and players are allowed to re-buy up to the fourth flight.
Checking in with the Stars
Greg Merson is coming off of a whirlwind year, and he has an eye on retaining his title:
It's extremely unlikely he will be able to repeat at the final table, but it is safe to expect him to make some waves at some point.
Just not at the start because he won't be there:
If Ivey follows through with this, he should get a bracelet for being awesome:
The most recognizable poker player on the planet will also miss the start of this WSOP as he too will be participating in the Macau cash games.
This will hurt his pursuit of the all-time bracelet lead. He recently won his his ninth bracelet at WSOP Asia Pacific and is now four behind Phil Hellmuth.
He is currently suing Crockfords for nearly $12 million in Punto Banco winnings, claiming that the casino is refusing to pay amidst allegations of edge sorting.
With 13 bracelets to his credit, Phil Hellmuth is preparing for this run like there is a fitness portion of poker:
This is a good thing, as he will apparently need it:
Hellmuth has become a WSOP mainstay. Check out this classic moment from the final table in 1989:
As you can see, it is time to get our poker faces ready. It is going to be another wild summer of cards.