The World Series of Poker Main Event Begins This Week

WSOP Main Event 2017 - World Series of Poker POY Race

The final table takes place in July this year, instead of November.

The World Series of Poker Main Event Championship opens this week in Las Vegas. As it has done for the past 12 years, the WSOP Main Event will happen at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

This year’s event is expected to have more than 6,000 players. One-third of the entries begin on each of the first three days of the event, with the combined field returning to play on Day 4. The event is expected to run through July 20.

No November Nine in 2017

Unlike the last several years, the WSOP Main Event final table ends in July. In previous years, the final nine tabled play for 3 and 1/2 months to build hype, then finished the WSOP in a final table called the November Nine. This time around, the final 9 poker players receive a one-day rest, then complete play to see who is the WSOP Main Event champion.

The entry fee to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event is $10,000. The prize pool in 2017 is more than $60 million and the coveted. The winner receives a coveted gold bracelet that all WSOP event winners receive, which is made from 427 grams of white and yellow gold. The bracelet has more than 2,000 diamonds and rubies. All told, the bracelets contains more than 44 carats.

Jonathan Duhamel: “The Super Bowl of Poker”

Because the WSOP Main Event is the most prestigious all year, whoever wins goes down in professional poker player history. Jonathan Duhamel, the WSOP Main Event winner in 2010, said of the upcoming event, “It’s very simple. It’s kind of like the Super Bowl of poker. It’s the single most important tournament of the year. Your whole life is going to change if you win that tournament.”

While it might be humorous to say the World Series of Poker Main Event is the Super Bowl of poker, Duhamel is right. Since the Poker Boom of 2003-2006, when professional poker became a mainsteam hobby in the United States and around the globe, no (previously) world famous professional has ever won the WSOP Main Event. Some have gotten close, but the vast number of amateur players and lesser known professionals have dominated the event since 2003. 2003 also was the year many online poker sites like PokerStars began sending winners of satellite events on all-expense paid trips to the WSOP Main Event.

Brand name poker players like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey have had major success over the year, adding multiple WSOP gold bracelets since then, yet they still pursue a first WSOP Main Event bracelet.

WSOP Main Event Strategy

Jonathan Dumahel said it’s a numbers game. He added, “You have to go step by step. You can’t win on day one. You look at your table, you try to play well, be lucky and make it through the day with some chips. And you do the same thing the day after and the day after. There’s no magic trick to win the tournament.”

Player of the Year Race Controversial

As the final event begins, the WSOP Player of the Year (POY) race is more controversial than it has been in years. The standings at the moment more or less reward the players with the best tournament so far, but early stages had a number of inconsistencies. That led to players carping on Twitter and their personal blogs.

The main problem is continuity. For the fourth time this decade, a new point system is being used. The old system was replaced by Bluff Magazine’s formula in 2011, which was the most controversial method of determining the POY Leaderboard. In 2015, WSOP used Global Poker Index’s formula, which was the official method for 2016, as well. This year, King’s Casino out of the Czech Republic is the official sponsor of the WSOP Player of the Year rankings. That means a whole new system.

One of the most controversial aspects is the current #2 player on the leaderboard: Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. Chris Ferguson was one of the key figures in the FullTilt Poker scandal stemming from the Black Friday indictments of 2011. The player-run online poker site failed to keep player funds segregated, so FTP customers faced the risk they might never see their money again. PokerStars eventually bought FullTilt Poker and reimbursed players, but 6 years later, Chris Ferguson’s name still raises ire with many card players.

2017 WSOP Player of the Year Top 10

John Racener of Florida, who was the WSOP Main Event runner-up in 2010, is the current leader in the POY standings. Raymond Henson is third, while Ryan Hughes is fourth and veteran Barry Greenstein is fifth. John Monnette, James Obst, Aditya Agarwal, Mike Leah, and Daniel Negreanu fill out the Player of the Year Top Ten as the final event begins.

Daniel Negreanu’s concerns are a good sampling of the complaints. Negreanu pointed out that the WSOP Main Event champion receives 411 POY points, while the $565 Colossus III winner receives almost as many POY Points (347). Both have similar size player pools, but the bet levels raise every 40 minutes in Colossus and every 2 hours in the Main Event. Also, the WSOP Main Event has all the best players competing, so many pros believe it should receive a significantly elevated number of Player of the Year points.