The World Series of Poker recently unveiled its 2016 schedule of tournaments and one addition really stands out – the first-ever “Team” event. Event No. 61, slated to begin play July 6, is a $1,000 buy-in tourney open to teams from two to four players.
There are not a lot of details on the WSOP.com website yet, but teams must register together, and each team member must play at least one round of blinds. Team members must stand outside the ropes and can sub in at any time. Each member of the winning team will receive a bracelet. It is scheduled to be a three-day event.
It’ll be interesting to see if they include breaks in the schedule for the team event. One of the benefits of having teammates is that if a player gets hungry or needs to go to the bathroom, he/she can just signal for a replacement and take off. No need to worry about missing any hands or hustling back to the table. Just keep the cards flying!
The affordable $1,000 buy-in (a four-person team would only pay $250 apiece) may attract a lot of players who might not otherwise attempt to play in the WSOP. It will also be interesting to see if any of the big-name professionals form a team. What if Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth teamed up?
Payouts Increase, Prices Drop
It appears that the WSOP is making an attempt to give players with smaller bankrolls more opportunities to experience the thrill of the world’s longest-running poker series. Last year’s event featured the first ever Colossus, a monster stack event with the lowest buy-in ($565) of an open event in three decades. It attracted the largest live field ever with more than 22,000 entrants. The 2015 schedule also included the Lucky 7s tournament with a $777 buy-in. That event drew more than 4,200 runners, making it the fifth-largest field in the 69-tourney schedule, behind only the Colossus, Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack and Main Event. Those were the only two open events with buy-ins of less than $1,000.
The 2016 schedule is bringing back the Colossus again. The buy-in remains the same, and the guarantee is increased to $7 million, with first-place guaranteed at least $1 million (there were many complaints last year that the field, with a prize pool of more than $11 million, only paid $638,000 to first place).
In addition, event 12 is a $565 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament. Along with the team tournament and the lucky 888 tournament ($888 buy-in), there are now four opportunities for players to get the thrill and excitement of playing in the WSOP for less than $1,000.
The WSOP also announced that more players would reach the money in each event. In most events, the top 15% will now reach the money (compared to the top 10% last year), with the minimum cash expected to be 1.5 times the buy-in. Some events are expected to reach the money before the end of the first day of play, meaning it would be possible for a player to cash twice in the same event.