2015 WSOP: What You Need to Know

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In a conference call on Tuesday, World Series of Poker officials outlined a variety of highlights and major changes for this year’s tournament extravaganza, which is set to start in 15 days from the Rio in Las Vegas. Sorry, there are no Frisbee-catching dogs this year.

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Pre-registration, in part driven by the opening $565 buy-in Colossus, is at an all-time high. In fact, it’sfive times higher than at this point last year. WSOP officials insinuated that the number of pre-registrations is already higher than the attendance of the 2006 WSOP Main Event (8,773), the largest live poker tournament to date. Hotel bookings are up twofold.

There’s an increase in starting chips across the board. Additionally, the WSOP is paying 1,000 players in the Main Event after backlash to the original decision to pay $10 million to first place.

As we told you about earlier today on PocketFives, the live final table broadcast of the Main Event on ESPN and ESPN2 has been expanded to three nights“so the great majority of the coverage can appear in prime time,” according to WSOP Vice President Ty Stewart. In the process, it’ll go head-to-head with Sunday Night Football (Eagles/Cowboys) and Monday Night Football (Bears/Chargers).

The WSOP has forged a variety of partnerships this year. 888 Poker will send more than 100 players to the Main Event by itself and 56 land-based casinos are licensed to send players as well.

DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports site that takes US players, will have a lounge on the Pavilion Room’s stage and the WSOP’s marketing agreement with DraftKings has been extended into a multi-year agreement. Finally, the Global Poker Indexis now the title sponsor of WSOP Player of the Year award.

In terms of structures, all $5,000 events and below will feature a 5x multiplier on starting chips instead of 3x. There is no change for $10,000 events. There’s a 10x multiplier for the Colossus and Monster Stack.

WiFiwill be available for players in all playing areas, and speaking of the internet (it’s a series of tubes), there’s an online bracelet event this year at WSOP.com. Normally, only one player can play in a cash game and tournament from the same IP address. However, the Rio is white-listed from that rule this year. Deposits for WSOP.com should be available at all Caesars properties.

The majority of final tables will be live-streamed, typically two each day. The secondary stream will be available every day, but does not show hole cards (the primary stream does). The live stream only exists on WSOP.com, which will be handling all live reporting, chip counts, and update blogs in-house this year after separating from PokerNews.

Some other highlights:

Starting with the Colossus

Stewart: “We’re ready to put ourselves to the max on opening weekend.” The Colossus will likely be the largest live poker tournament ever attendance-wise and caters to a first-time crowd. Stewart added, “If it’s not, by a large margin, the largest event in the history of poker, it would be a disappointment.”

WSOP Betting

The only betting on the WSOP is likely to be on the November Nine. Lines for other final tables are too difficult to set since they start immediately.

Patch Restrictions

There is no change to patch restrictions this year.

WSOP.com Software Errors and Quirks

Issues in Nevada were addressed in last software update to comply with gaming restrictions for the online bracelet event. WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel added, “We’re not trying to say the online experience will be the exact same as a live event. There will be nuances with having an online event. It’s an evolution. If there are difficulties, we’ll deal with them.”

WSOP’s Focus on Recreational Players

Stewart: “We are aiming to get more recreational players involved. The poker customer at large is a value-based customer.”

Effel: “We have something for everyone. That’s it, in a nutshell.”

WSOP Facilitating Deals

Stewart: “There are a lot of the days during the year that someone will take variance away from the table. This is the World Championship of Poker… The general public doesn’t want to see [deals]… For the five weeks of the WSOP, we believe cooperation isn’t in the best interest of the game.”

Rules About Electronics

There are no headphones allowed once you reach the money. If you’re not in a hand, you can be on your device. If you’re playing a hand online, the Tournament Directors will understand or you can use your time bank.

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