Making the Most of Playing in the WSOP as an Amateur – Happy Hobbyists

Making the Most of Playing in the WSOP as an Amateur – Happy Hobbyists

Jeremy Wienby Jeremy WienAugust 9, 2021August 7, 2021Generally speaking, the events that I think provide the best “value” are ones that are relatively-lower in entry fee while being at least one of the following: a deepstack structure, allowing more play for your money; a freezeout format, preventing you from being in a situation where deep-pocketed pros can play crazily against you, knowing they can easily drop in a few rebuys if needed (while you’re playing straight/”real” poker); a totally different type of event that provides a unique type of enjoyment/entertainment.

In the first category, deepstack structures, we have the following events: #8 ($800) on October 4th, #30 ($1500) on October 15th and 16th, #33 ($800) on October 17th, #43 ($1000) on October 26th and 27th, #46 ($800) on October 24th, #61 ($600) on November 1st, and #77 ($1500) on November 16th. The standard starting stack size for a “normal” $1500 entry event at this year’s WSOP is 25,000 chips. For the $800 entry events I’ve listed, you start with 30,000 chips; for the $1000 event, you start with 40,000 chips; for the $1500 events, you start with 50,000 in chips. Getting that much more play for your entry fee seems like a no-brainer from a “value” perspective.

The deepstack events above all do permit one re-entry (which I don’t necessarily mind), except for the Monster Stack (#30), which is a freezeout. The other freezeout events I want to highlight that aren’t nosebleed entry fees are: #26 ($1000) on October 13th, #35 ($500) on October 18th, and #75 ($1500) on November 15th. I do lament a bit that the default event seems to be re-entry these days, with a freezeout being highlighted as a positive attribute, as opposed to freezeout being the default and having a few free-for-all rebuy events; unfortunately, that will probably not revert any time soon, if ever.

Finally in terms of the best “value” I’ve found at this year’s WSOP, I want to highlight the tag-team event, #59, on Halloween. It’s a $1000 entry fee, and you play the event as a partnership with another player. Whether a spouse, sibling, friend, whomever you’d like to team up with—what a fun day to play a WSOP Bracelet event with someone you love hanging out with and playing poker with…a singular chance to team up in an individual game.


#4, $500 “Reunion”, October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, $5,000,000 guaranteed prizepool

#17, $1400 “Millionaire Maker”, October 8th and 9th, $1,000,000 guaranteed 1st prize

#65, $1000 “Mini Main Event”, November 3rd

These events are guaranteed to have large fields with massive prizepools, providing a chance for someone to “hit it big” without putting up a monster entry fee. They range from a crapshoot-y structure (Reunion) to a fantastic structure (Mini Main Event), but whichever of these events you jump into, you’re going to have a chance to win a lot of money, and that’s an enticing carrot for any poker tournament.


#48, the $1500 Shootout, October 25th

For those who are unfamiliar, a “shootout” event is one that is played in “rounds”—you have to win what is essentially a single-table-sit-and-go to advance to the next round. If you win your first table, you’re in the money. If you win your second table, you’re at a WSOP Final Table. And if you win your third table, you are a WSOP Bracelet winner. Nothing about this is “easy” in any way. But there’s something about winning three single-table mini-tournaments that is a lot less daunting than working your way through a multi-thousand-person field where every empty seat at your table is filled by another player/stack.

I think (almost) all WSOP events are worth playing if you have the time and money to do so. But since most people have limited quantities of both, I hope I’ve provided a helpful guide on which tournaments make the most sense based on whatever your priorities are. Have fun, run well, and I’ll see you on the felt!

Jeremy Wien is a non-professional poker player and WSOP bracelet winner.

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