The annual World Series of Poker conference call took place last week to offer an opportunity for the media to listen to some WSOP announcements and ask questions. With only days remaining before the summer games begin and poker in Las Vegas gets exciting, there were some exciting developments to report.
The hosts of the call were WSOP executive director Ty Stewart, tournament director Jack Effel, Caesars Interactive Entertainment head Bill Rini, VP of corporate communications Seth Palansky, and 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess.
Chairs, Carpet, and Hash House
The first announcements came in the form of general improvements for players and fans at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In addition to a zip line attraction at the establishment, some will enjoy the new Hash House A-Go-Go as a dining offering, which replaces the Sao Paulo Café.
Those walking through the Convention Center will find new carpeting, which will be a pleasure for some who have stared at the same carpet since the WSOP moved to the Rio in 2004. Players will find new chairs at all of the poker tables as well.
In celebration of the tenth year at the Rio, the WSOP will have a festive feel to it, with indoor blimps and celebratory events like Frisbee dogs playing with chip-shaped Frisbees before the start of the Millionaire Maker event. The WSOP itself will consist of the previously announced 65 gold bracelet events.
Live and Online Poker
Some of the announcements regarding the live poker at the Rio this summer were a surprise to players. Instead of the long-standing afternoon event start time of 5:00 pm, those events will now start at 4:00 pm. Those players will compete for 10 levels without a dinner break in order to have a better chance of reaching the final tables on schedule.
The WSOP website will offer live streaming for the final tables of 32 of the events, including the big buy-ins and events like the Millionaire Maker. There will be a delay on the action, as in past years.
The WSOP is unsurprisingly incorporating its new WSOP.com online poker site into the festivities. The online site is offering the cashier cage at the Rio as a depositing option, players can take advantage of a 100 percent deposit bonus on amounts up to $1,000, and site representatives will have in-person customer support. Meanwhile, the site will offer a High Roller online series beginning in late May, as well as another Stacked Summer series with $2 million in guarantees to be revealed before the end of May.
Players at the Rio are encouraged to bring their laptops to the poker tables, as play will be allowed online while they compete in the live tournaments. There will also be a “grind room” set up on the Pavilion stage for players who want to play online while at the Rio.
Champ Champions WSOP
Ryan Riess took the opportunity to discuss his past year since winning the 2013 WSOP Main Event, including appearing on some sports programs and making some significant purchases. He spoke of moving to Las Vegas, where he purchased a home and a car, as well as the trips around the world he’s taken in the past year to play poker. He also mentioned that he will be selling pieces of his action so he can play the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop.
Riess looks forward to playing in the 2014 Main Event as the reigning champion, especially considering this year’s tournament will guarantee $10 million to the winner.