The 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) will be a more player-friendly experience all-round thanks to some changes to the festival’s structure and more.
In a press release published ahead of the May 29 start date, WSOP bosses have outlined a list of tweaks and innovations that should make players lives easier throughout summer.
The most significant innovation at this year’s series was announced on May 9 and will see esports company UMG set up a gaming stage inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.
While the organizers are hanging their hats on this new addition to the schedule, WSOP regulars will be more focused on the tournaments. As well as revising the start times for the Daily Deep Stack, the WSOP will be giving players 5,000 more starting chips and reducing rake in these side events.
Tournament Tweaks and Better Eats
For the WSOP’s main schedule, nine new tournaments have been added to the mix. The first fresh event will be the $10,000 Super Bounty Turbo, but many pros will be looking towards the $100,000 Super High Roller as one of the most valuable tournaments outside of the Main Event.
Perhaps the most interesting change for those intent of spending the summer inside the Rio will be the improved dining options. In previous years, players have been less than enthused about the WSOP’s dedicated canteen.
In a 2016 guide to the WSOP, Calvin Ayre’s Lee Davy advised players to avoid buying food from the Rio because it “sucks,” while forum posters have been known to complain about the prices. This summer the menu has been revamped to offer “grab-n-go” snacks as well as international dishes.
Additionally, to complement the player-friendly agenda the WSOP seems to be pushing, more provisions will be available for those on a break.
“For comfort, visitors will appreciate the re-vamped seating, with phone charging stations built into some, additional seating on the outdoor patio, plus more seats scattered in convention center hallways,” reads the WSOP’s press release.
Organizers Bidding to Break Records
The drive to make the festival more appealing is part of the WSOP’s attempts to bolster tournament attendances figures across the board, including the Main Event. In 2017, the $10,000 Big Dance attracted 7,221 entrants, which was the third largest in the event’s history.
After peaking at 8,773 players in 2006, the world championship event took a hit when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed the same year. Things took another downturn in 2011 when Black Friday saw the Department of Justice (DOJ) pull the plug on sites still active in the US.
Despite the knocks, the festival has rebounded in recent years through a combination of schedule improvements and a general upturn in industry’s fortunes.
Although the current Main Event record may be hard to break, it’s clear the organizers are doing everything they can to attract as many players as possible to the Rio this summer.