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The World Series of Poker begins next week, running May 29 through July 15. What better way to prepare for it than by looking at the tournament by the numbers with a few highlights of what's new for this year's event? First up, some fun fact about WSOP itself:
Amount of Events: 62 bracelet events
Number of Tables: 480 (record, includes Rio Poker Room)
Cheapest Tournament Buy-In: $500
Most Expensive Tournament Buy-In: $111,111
Career WSOP winnings for Antonio Esfandiari: $19,631,933 (#1 all time)
Defending Main Event Champion Winnings: $8,531,853, Greg Merson
Total Prizes In 2012: $222,035,192
Amount of Entrants in 2012: 74,766 (2nd highest of all time)
Average Age in 2012: 37.74
The cool new kid on the poker
block table is Open-Face Chinese Poker. As the name suggests, the game is a variant on Chinese Poker which isn't quite as popular.
Open-Face Chinese Poker may or may not be a fad, but there's one thing for sure -- people are playing it and loving it. The excitement over the game brought a host of questions about it on last week's World Series of Poker conference call because Phil Helmuth and every big poker pro are playing it. They're even playing Open-Face Chinese Poker hands on their mobile phone in-between hands at the poker table.
Open-Face Chinese Poker had its tournament debut earlier this year, but won't be played as an official tourney in this year's World Series of Poker. While WSOP decides how Open-Face Chinese Poker fits into the scheme of things, they will host an exhibition.
Afraid I am finally gonna give in to Father Time and pass on tournament play at WSOP. #toomanyhours— Doyle Brunson (@TexDolly) May 15, 2013
The World Series of Poker begins May 29 at the Rio and a spokesperson says they will try to talk Brunson into playing in one of the tournaments.
Ultimate Poker / UFC / Poker / Station Casinos / Boarding Pass / Players Clubs / Online Poker / → All Tags
Online poker comes back to life in Nevada this week with the launch of Ultimate Poker. Even though online poker in the United States is only legal in Nevada this is still a big deal. It's been a long time since Black Friday essentially shut down online poker in America and Ultimate Poker is the first step back towards legal online poker.
Ultimate Poker is owned by Station Casinos who also own the UFC. The UFC will be a Ultimate Poker's exclusive online gaming (gambling?) partner so expect to see the name often when you watch the fights. Even though Ultimate Poker is connected with Station Casinos you won't receive any Boarding Pass players club points for playing. You will still see some promotions available just for Boarding Pass members, though.
Gambling / Poker / Survival Strategies / Tips / Vegas Rants / → All Tags
Poker used to be like golf. It was a gentleman’s game, set around tradition and honor. A game to share with friends over a stiff drink and a cigar. It was an excuse to forget the dullness of the 9 to 5, to get away for a few hours to turn cards and laugh over dirty jokes.
As televised poker gained popularity, the game started to change. We watched Mike Matusow talk about his “cojones,” we saw Shaun Sheikhan act like a jerk. With cries of “AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE,” (Salty) Joe Hachem’s fans inappropriately (this Chatter'er feels, anyway) brought the energy of a soccer (football) game to the televised final table at the 2005 WSOP. From kitchen table to card room, people started to emulate the behavior of these “famous” poker players. If everyone could just cut it out, we could get back to the awesome game that we all love. In response to all the bad behavior, here are the five most obnoxious things people do at the poker table that grate on us most. Don’t be this guy or gal.
Gambling / Poker / Venetian / The Mirage / Treasure Island / → All Tags
After reading about 2004 World Series of Poker Champion Greg Raymer’s prostitution bust earlier this week, we were reminded of the explosion of poker that he helped herald in. During the period after everymen Raymer and Chris Moneymaker took home WSOP bracelets after winning seats in online poker satellites, every Vegas casino jumped to get poker rooms in place.
A decade later, thanks to the current illegality of online poker, interest in the game has waned. It is impossible for US players to win seats into bigger tournaments online. Poker rooms have begun to close around town. With less players, less of a rake is generated. There is little reason for many casinos to keep funding a room that merely breaks even, when they could just fill the area with slot machines.
Caesars Entertainment launched a new poker promotion earlier this year that somehow slipped by us until now. Recently, we caught a billboard touting a Mega Beat Progressive Poker Jackpot that starts at $200,000. Filed away under "look into further," the mega jackpot paid out to over 200 players just a few days later with one poker player holding a hand that earned him over $136,000.
Bad beat poker jackpots aren't new, but generally are much smaller, paying out say a few hundred dollars to players involved in two ridiculously uncommon hands that have the unfortunate fate of being dealt against each other. Like one-in-a-gajillion unfortunate. Or, take four aces against a royal flush: depending on situation and number of players dealt in, these hands facing each other could be over 1 in 88 million. Gajillion or 88 million, the point is that it's rare.
Poker / National Heads-Up Poker Championship / Caesars Palace / Poker Tournaments / WSOP / → All Tags
The National Heads-Up Poker Championship returns for the eighth time this year (its seventh at Caesars Palace) after taking a break in 2012. The National Heads-Up Poker Championship features 64 of the world's best poker players as they compete in a series of Heads-Up matches (one-on-one games of No Limit Texas Hold'em).
This is really a made-for-TV poker event, but is very popular with players and fans alike because of its different structure. The tournament is a single-elimination, bracket-style format modeled after the NCAA Basketball tournament. When a player wins a match, he or she advances to the next round. If that poker player wins six matches, they become National Heads-Up Poker Champion.
Aria / Poker / Multi Action Poker / Gambling / → All Tags
Last week, Aria introduced a new type of live poker game called Multi Action Poker. Multi Strike video poker has been around for a little while now (don't confuse the two like we did), but Multi Action Poker is different, allowing you to play two games of at once.
At first glance, the table layout looks very confusing, but as odd as the concept is, it actually makes sense. There are two dealers sitting across the table from each other, each taking care of a separate hand. Everyone, dealers and players included, will be able to differentiate between the two hands based on the colors of the front and backs of the cards. At each player’s seat, there are two spaces, one marked with a blue circle and one with a red circle, on which separate chip stacks will be placed. A small wooden divider sits in between the spaces to help keep the chip stacks from intermingling. The two flops will be laid out on corresponding blue and red diamonds in the center of the table.
While sitting at the bar playing video poker and drinking a 777 beer at Main Street Station last week, we heard an unusual announcement. The casino was alerting guests that a slot tournament would be taking place in a half hour and that there was still room to sign up and play. We've played in slot tournaments before and didn't find them very interesting so we stayed at the bar, playing video poker and sipping beer.
Every other slot tournament we've come across before was promotional and had no entry fee. These tournaments were used to lure customers into the casino. If you're staying overnight (or two nights) at a casino, you're bound to spend some cash there. It's a great promotional tool and a good excuse for customers to visit a casino. The Big Kahuna Tournament at Main Street Station is different, though.
Silverton / Cantor Gaming / Poker / Poker Rooms / Closings / Openings / → All Tags
Cards were in the air at Silverton Casino just this past January, but the poker room folded soon after due to low demand. But, it appears poker at the woodsy lodge is back on the table again. Pokerati reports that Cantor Gaming, which already operates the casino's sports book, will be bringing back the poker room under its wing.
WSOP / World Series of Poker / Poker / Play Clock / Basketball / → All Tags
The Final Table at the World Series of Poker's Main Event last week brought mixed feelings to many viewers and possibly a change in how poker is played in the future. It wasn't that the play at the final table was poor. In fact, there were many compliments on the play. The game moved a bit too slow, though, for television. Amateur and professional poker players lamented the slow play alike.
The idea brought up the most often to speed the game up on television is a play clock a la basketball and chess. The loudest voice on this, purely because of his professional name, seemed to be by professional player Daniel Negreanu: