The 2015-16 World Series of Poker Circuit just passed the halfway point last week with its most successful tour stop yet at Choctaw Casino in Durant, Okla. The 12 ring events at Choctaw attracted a total of 9,717 runners, including a tour record 4,249 entries for the $365 No-limit Hold ‘em re-entry event.
The first 10 stops of the 19 scheduled, on the 2015-16 tour, have attracted 45,915 runners for the dozen official ring events at each stop (this total does not include Seniors’ or Ladies’ events offered at some locations). By comparison, the first 10 stops in last year’s tour drew 43,051 runners, meaning overall participation has increased by 6.7 percent.
The Harrah’s Cherokee 2015 fall stop saw an increase of more than 1,500 runners from the 2014 event. The decision to replace IP Biloxi on the schedule with a fall stop at Horseshoe Baltimore also proved wise as Baltimore attracted almost 1,400 more runners than participated in the stop at Biloxi in 2014. Stops at Foxwoods (Connecticut), Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, Planet Hollywood (Las Vegas) and the Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles) also saw more runners this year than last year.
The dozen ring events at each stop include a variety of formats (Omaha, 6-max, Turbo, Monster stack, High-Roller, etc.) as well as the standard No-Limit Hold ‘em. The most popular format is the re-entry event, which is a multi-day tournament that allows players to enter as many times as they wish. The buy-in for that tourney is usually $365 or $580. The 10 re-entry events have attracted an average field of 1,645 runners.
Main Event Participation up Sharply
Each stop also hosts a $1,675 Main Event, and participation is up considerably over last season. The first 10 Main Events averaged 806 runners, compared to 689 for the first 10 last year. Seven of the 10 stops drew larger fields this year, including Horseshoe Hammond (229 more than last year), Harvey’s Lake Tahoe (96), Planet Hollywood (260), Cherokee (213) and Choctaw (201).
After the unbelievable popularity of the Colossus monster stack event at the 2015 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, which drew an unheard of 22,374 runners, almost every tour stop included a monster stack event this year. The 10 monster stack events so far (Harrah’s Southern Indiana did not have a monster stack while the Bicycle Casino scheduled two Monster events) have averaged 499 players per event.
Each stop has at least one Turbo event, and the 15 turbo events have drawn an average of 211 players. These are great for players who are looking for an event that wraps up in one day.
Of the other variations offered, the Six-Max tourneys have drawn an average of 210 players per event, while the versions of Omaha have averaged 132 for the eight stops that offered Omaha Pot Limit and 125 for the four stops that offered Omaha Hi-Low.
Just call me the Quicker Picker Upper
I love bounty tournaments and am glad to see that this format is making its way into the Circuit. In case you are not familiar with the bounty format, a portion of each player’s entry fee (in this case, $100 of the $365) serves as a bounty on each player. Whenever you knock out a player, you collect their bounty, so it is conceivable to make money in this format without actually making it into the money.
Two of the first 10 stops offered a Bounty tourney, drawing 174 (Horseshoe Southern Indiana) and 140 (Bicycle) runners. The bounty tournament at Southern Indiana had the third-highest field among the 12 ring events, behind only the Main Event and the re-entry tourney. The Bicycle Bounty event outdrew the Omaha Hi-Low (124) and Turbo (120) events, as well as, two of the three standard NLHE events.