More Broken Records? New Events? What Could Be On the 2024 WSOP Schedule?
The 2024 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is right around the corner, and the poker world is once again crying out for the annual schedule release.
Unlike some heavy hints in recent years, this one provides little information to work with, other than the overall May 28-July 17 window. We know the Main Event will run from July 3-17. We know there will be four opening flights from July 3-6, and the traditional buy-in of $10,000 will remain. We also know that the series will return to Horseshoe and Paris for the third year.
Everything else is a mystery, but we can expect some resolution soon. How soon? Who knows. We have heard rumors, but PokerNews will believe it when we see it, and you will be the first to find out.
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Last years WSOP yielded record-breaking crowds and a record turnout of 10,043 for its Main Event, where Daniel Weinman won the top prize of $12.1 million. There is no indication that the WSOP intends to rest on its success and the popularity of WSOP Paradise will be a tailwind for bigger and better plans this summer. The new venue is now familiar territory and a lofty standard is set. So, how does a world-class poker festival top itself?
PokerNews thought wed satiate ourselves with a look forward to what we might be different about this years schedule, and what we think we might return from last year.
How Does the WSOP Break the Main Event Record Again?
The largest-ever field of 10,043 set up a prize pool of just under $93.5 million, and it will be a hard record to break but its probably going to happen again very soon. The question of how is what the WSOP has been thinking about all year.
Surely the amount of people who qualify online from within the United States will steadily increase over the years, but thats just part of the equation. To continue such growth, the WSOP will need to keep adding to the spectacle of the Main Event. It will need to continue to compel players to play year after year in a world where competition is only getting more fierce.
The World Poker Tour made a big splash with their $40 million guarantee for the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December. They fell just short of the guarantee, but the event was a massive success and the WPT established its end-of-year Vegas festival as a forever event.
Why not guarantee $100 Million for the WSOP Main Event? Its a big number that will send an even bigger message around the industry. The friendly competition is good for both sides and the magnitude of each event only helps the other.
Will the WSOP Go to the Vault?
Since 1971, many ideas have been tried with great success at the WSOP. But some have since come and gone, usually because interest waned on that particular variant. I the WSOP Vault are lost tournaments like Ace-to-Five Draw, Limit Omaha, Five-Card Stud, Mixed Doubles, and even Chinese Poker.
Mixed Doubles could be a popular addition to the schedule, with teams of men and women competing for a WSOP gold bracelet in a tag team-style event. It ran at the WSOP from 1979-1983, with NLH for the first two years and Seven Card Stud for the last three. This would be an interesting year to bring back the format, considering one of Doyle Brunsons ten bracelets was in this event in 1979 with partner Starla Brodie.
We may be too far removed from the height of Steve McQueen's Cincinnati Kid for Five-Card Stud to make a huge impact, but Ace-to-Five would fit in well with the other lowball games. It ran from the beginning of the WSOP in 1971 and was featured infrequently throughout the years until its final appearance in 2004. Interestingly enough, it was played under a few different variations, including one with a joker in 1983.
Chinese Poker appeared at the WSOP with two events in each of 1995 and 1996. The 13-card game saw a decline in entries from the first year to the second, so it did not earn a third, but mixed games have enjoyed popularity like never before and there are opportunities to try new things with old ideas.
Where Are They Now: 1996 WSOP Chinese Poker Bracelet Winner Gregg Grivas
Long Live Badugi
The maiden voyage of WSOP Badugi drew 516 runners and a prize pool of $688,860, with an affordable $1,500 buy-in that drove the turnout beyond anyones expectations. The turnout was so big it required an unscheduled fourth day to award Michael Rodrigues with the top prize of $144,678 and the first Badugi gold bracelet.
Meanwhile, the first-ever Big O tournament was held and mixed games stalwart Scott Abrams beat the field of 1,458 entries to win his first bracelet and $315,203.
There is little doubt that both formats will return, and they may bring some new variants with them, like Crazy Pineapple Hi/Lo or an old favorite like Five-Card Draw. Five-Card Draw is more likely since WSOP likes to create its new tournaments from games that are already used in mixed events.
Hybrid Online-Live Tournaments?
WSOP Paradise welcomed fields that qualified and even played Day 1 from throughout the world on GGPoker, in the case of the Millionaire Maker in Paradise and a few others. The length of the summer provides a lot of opportunities for the WSOP to capitalize on innovative ideas that blend online and live tournaments.
The WSOP has no reason not to continue to experiment with its hybrid model, and partners like GGPoker have every reason to support the effort to innovate the ways that online poker supports its live counterpart.
More Bracelets, More Freezeouts, More Mystery
The 2023 edition offered 95 bracelets the most in live WSOP history in addition to 20 bracelets on WSOP Online in New Jersey and Nevada. Whether its a popular decision or not, that number is likely to go up.
The introduction of more freezeout events in recent years has been popular, and the price points have allowed more people to experience the WSOP. Theres no reason to reduce their presence on the schedule, though some of the buy-ins may be adjusted based on feedback from players. Freezeout events have great turnouts and are popular with rec players who may not want to reenter tournaments at the normal WSOP pace. They also increase the field of the tournaments around them on the schedule as players move on from busting out.
Mystery bounty events have been another popular part of the schedule in recent years, and 2023 saw a pair of million-dollar bounties given away during a $1,000 Mystery Millions event that drew over 18,000 entries. Last summer also featured a $10,000 Mystery Millions event, where 568 players turned out for 81 bounties that ranged from $5,000 to $250,000.
Both bounty events were a hit and they are likely to return to the schedule, but theres always room for one more.
Whatever the case may be, we are sure to have a schedule soon. Keep an eye on PokerNews for the release of the schedule and more in-depth coverage as we get ready for the 2024 World Series of Poker.