The World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) will begin at the Crown Casino in Melbourne on October 2 this week, with ten bracelet events in a variety of different poker disciplines.
And while these tournaments may be taking place in a different destination and may draw smaller fields, the bracelets won by players are every bit as real as the ones found in Las Vegas.
The World Series of Poker, of course, is synonymous with Las Vegas, and probably always will be. But in recent years, the WSOP has made efforts to reach out to the international community of poker players with the goal of growing the game. In October, those efforts will take poker’s best players Down Under in the hunt for more gold bracelets.
Last year saw the first-ever WSOP APAC award five bracelets, including one to Phil Ivey and a Main Event championship to Daniel Negreanu. This year, the WSOP is looking to add even more interest to the event by doubling the number of bracelets to ten and increasing their television coverage, offering hole card coverage of the Main Event and a high-roller event on a 30-minute delay in both the United States and Australia.
“With 10 gold bracelets on the line and video of every event, we are thrilled to be at Crown in Melbourne to finish what has been an exceptional year for the WSOP,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director.
This year’s WSOP APAC marks a change in the annual structure of the WSOP calendar. Last year, the inaugural WSOP APAC was held in April, while the WSOP Europe was contested in October. For at least the near future, however, that will be the only time these two events will be held in the same year. The plan is now to alternate international WSOP events in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, with Europe hosting in odd-numbered years and WSOP APAC being held in even-numbered years.
The additional events in this year’s festival have made it possible for the WSOP to offer a wider variety of tournaments in Australia. Of the ten tournaments, there are still six No Limit Hold’em events, along with two for Pot Limit Omaha. But those are joined by an Eight Game Mix tournament and a Dealer’s Choice event, in which the button player will be able to pick which of eight games are played each hand. Robert Mizrachi won the first-ever WSOP Dealer’s Choice bracelet this June in Las Vegas.
The 2014 WSOP APAC will kick off on October 2 with an A$1,100 No Limit Hold’em Accumulator event. This unique tournament structure features three starting days: players can participate in as many as they like, and may combine their end-of-day stacks and take all of their chips with them to Day 2. The Main Event, which carries an A$10,000 buy-in, begins on October 12.
One thing to watch in this year’s 2014 WSOP APAC will be the size of the fields. Last year’s tournaments were rather small, with the Main Event attracting only 405 players, and only one event that broke 1,000 players: the Accumulator tournament, which boasted 1,085 entries. WSOP organizers may be hoping that a longer schedule will make it more worthwhile for professional players to make the trip to Melbourne this time around.