2016 WSOP and History – Schedule and New Events

[SS] “Less than a month away now…”, Stan the Stat teased.

[FF] “What, the Stanley Cup Finals?” Figaro the Fish suggested.

[SS] “Yeah, that too, but I never watch unless the Bruins are in it. We were in the middle of a poker tournament here when that dream ended in their final regular season game.”

[LL] “Of course, Stan is referring to the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll“, Leroy the Lion jested.

[SS] “A perfect allegory for how the Bruins season: high expectations, then downhill all the way ending with a big crash.”

[LL] “I’m sure it’s a sight to behold not unlike the Running of the Bulls where somewhat less than sane humans get themselves run over by massive, fast-moving objects with no mind for their safety.”

[FF] “I was just kidding too. I know you tick off the days until the World Series of Poker on your calendar like a six-year-old waiting for Christmas.”

[LL] “Actually, have you seen his Poker Powerhouses Pinups Calendar?1 I thought I noticed some drool on Mr. June: Phil Hellmuth posing with his fourteenth bracelet.”

[SS] “Yes, I’m talking about the WSOP, which kicks off on the first of June with the Casino Employees event. The Main Event doesn’t start until July 9 but isn’t the last event to begin for the first time since 2008.2 That honor belongs to the concurrent Little One for One Drop, which starts on July 12. The Main Event plays down to the November Nine on July 18 before taking its now-standard break until mid-fall. The final table returns on October 30 for three more days of play.

I should point out that instead of starting with 30,000 chips,3 everyone will get 50,000 chips. This will also be true for the dozen other $10,000 buyin events.

For the sixth straight year, the number of events has increased to a new record, this time to 69, one more than last year. Mixed Games and Omaha (high and hi-lo) each gained two events, while No Limit Hold ‘Em lost one event, and Pot Limit Hold ‘Em lost two to disappear entirely from the schedule for the first time since its introduction in 1992.

The removal of the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold ‘Em event surprised me, since attendance figures had been healthy. After peaking at 1,102 entries in 2006, numbers had settled into a steady range from 535 (2013) to 765 (2011), with last year (639) right in the middle of both that range and the 68 tournaments at the 2005 WSOP (32 events had fewer entries, including three that were under 100).”4

[LL] “Maybe Pot Limit Hold ‘Em will come back next year when they top 70 events… What are the two new Mixed Games events?”

[SS] “Actually, there are three, as the $1,500 Ten-Game Mix/Six-Handed was dropped, although it was basically replaced by a $1,500 Eight Game Mix Six Max. The other two new events are a $1,500 Mixed Pot Limit Omaha/No Limit Hold ‘Em event, a combination that was used once before, for a heads up event in 2012, and a $2,500 Limit Triple Draw Lowball mix with A-5, 2-7, and Badugi. All three of these varieties are usually played in larger mixed events, but this is the first time they’ve been separated out. It’s a pretty unusual trio, since at least one of the H.O.R.S.E. events is usually in every WSOP mix.”

[FF] “And didn’t I hear something about a team event?”

[SS] “Indeed. From 1979 to 1983, the WSOP had a Mixed Doubles event featuring 7-Card Stud except for 1980, which was No Limit Hold ‘Em. Teams were composed of one man and one woman, who alternated play every half hour. This year’s event features teams of two to four of any gender,5 probably with each team deciding who should play by blind level.6 There’s been some confusion, but I think the $1,000 buyin is per team, not per player. This makes it a $250 buyin for members of four-player teams, the cheapest way to play a WSOP tournament since 1978.”7


  1. Sorry, like the Poker Greats Playing Card Deck, this doesn’t really exist.
  2. In 2008, the Casino Employees event was last instead of first.
  3. The Main Event had started each player with 10,000 chips until 2005. This increased to 20,000 in 2006 and to 30,000 in 2009.
  4. The least attended events of the 2015 WSOP were the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship (77 players), the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (84 players), and the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship (91 players). In terms of revenue, the three lowest events were the $1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball (219 players), the $1,500 Seven Card Stud (327 players), and the $1,500 Dealers Choice/Six-Handed (357 players), not including the special Casino Employee event with its $565 buyin.
  5. It will be interesting to see if any all-women teams run deep in the new event.
  6. The official rules of the team event state that “After everyone has played at least one round of blinds, teams may freely tag each other in and out as long as they are not actively in a hand.”
  7. The 1977 Women’s Championship was just $100, while the 1978 Women’s Championship was $200. And yes, if you can sell shares of your action, you can play any WSOP event with as small a risk as you want.

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