WSOP Marathon Proves Not All Bracelet Events Need to be a Sprint

June 14th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

The latest innovation from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) got underway recently, and the concept appears gone down well with the masses.

WSOP Marathon

More than 1,700 players ante-up for a chance to enjoy deeper stacks and longer levels in the WSOP’s Marathon event. (Image:

When the WSOP announced its 2017 schedule, it did so with a number of new tournaments. One of the more interesting options for professional players was Event #23, the $2,620 Marathon which featured starting stacks of 26,200 chips and 100-minute levels.

The idea behind the event was to offer players more opportunities to play with deepstacks than they usually would. Compared to an average WSOP bracelet event with a similar buy-in, players in The Marathon started with more than twice as many chips and an extra 40 minutes before a level change.

Pros Thrive Under New Conditions

With the structure looking as though it would favor the more experienced players, Day 1 saw a number of pros join the 1,769 player field. By the close of play, familiar faces such as Faraz Jaka, Tristan Wade and the winner of the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship, Adrian Mateos, were still in the mix.

In total, more than 750 players made it through Day 1, which would suggest the longer format and increased time to play was having the desired effect. This was confirmed late on Day 2 when, as is often the case in small stakes WSOP events, the bubble didn’t burst.

Another effect of having more room to maneuver was the presence of more pros at the top of the leaderboard as the money places moved closer.

The always talkative Maurice Hawkins closed the second session with the chip lead while Mateos, Niall Farrell, Jason Mercier and Maria Ho were all riding high in the chip counts.

Players Seating The Marathon

As well as being a success from an organizational perspective, the WSOP’s Marathon event appears to have been a hit with players. Tristan Wade posted a picture of himself smiling alongside the tweet: “Made Day 3 in the WSOP Marathon. 1,759 started, 268 remain, 264 make the money. I have 70bbs going into the bubble tomorrow! #IUsedToRunTrack.”

However, as well as giving players more chance to enjoy some deepstack poker, the extra effort required didn’t go unnoticed either.

Peter Blow: “@WSOP Does the winner of the Marathon get wrapped in tinfoil and given a medal instead of a bracelet? #WSOP”

Ben Taylor: “Day 2 of @WSOP Marathon in the books!  Coming back tomorrow: unshaved, maybe, unshowered, 212k in chips.”

Over the last few years the WSOP has been criticized for watering down the value of a bracelet with low buy-in events that eventually turn into a crapshoot.

The Marathon is an attempt to redress the balance and the eventual winner will have certainly earned their bracelet by the time it finishes.

Whether or not there is a place for more events like this on the schedule remains to be seen. However, for this year at least, The Marathon appears to have been a success.


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