The World Series of Poker’s 2019 schedule is the most recreational-friendly on record, with 10 live bracelet events with buy-ins in the triple digits. That’s on top of the myriad daily deepstack events with buy-ins under $250 and a new weekly senior event with a similar entrance fee. A weekly Sunday pot-limit Omaha tournament with a $250 buy-in will also take place this summer.
But are the structures any good? Historically, the lower the buy-in, the more a “shove fest” a tournament could become. You’d be surprised, however, how good these 2019 structures are upon closer inspection.
A popular method of evaluating events these days assigns them what are known as structure points, or S-points. This system analyzes tournaments using such factors as number of starting chips, length of levels and how incrementally the blinds increase. Slower structures, giving players more play, yields higher numbers of S-points.
Rainbows, Puppies, Sunshine
You can see how this is calculated using this evaluation tool, which will allow you to input data and determine S-points for any tournament.
The number crunchers at the website RainbowPuppiesSunshine.com, which run the WSOP numbers each year, found that the S-point totals have increased in 2019, yielding lots of play even in the smaller buy-in events.
The summary for events with buy-ins less than $1,000 can be found here.
The numbers are definitely surprising. Given how often people complained about the terrible structures of the Colossus in its first years of implementation, you’d have expected the Big 50 and its $500 buy-in to be another shove fest. But that’s not at all the case. The event that begins May 30 with the first of four starting days and a guaranteed $5 million prize pool gets a rating of 126 S-points, a better score than many tournaments with higher buy-ins.
Its 50-minute levels, slow blind increases and 50,000 starting chips get you a lot of bang for your buck on that first rake-free buy-in.
The Colossus is also much improved in 2019. Now with a $400 buy-in and taking place later in the schedule (starting June 26), the Colossus gets a 112 S-points rating with its 40-minute levels and 40,000 starting chips.
Here’s a rundown of the other sub-$1,000 bracelet events on the schedule:
- Event #1 (May 29) Casino Employees $500 NLHE – 102 S-points
- Event #9 (June 3) $600 NLHE Deepstack – 80 S-points
- Event #25 (June 11) $600 PLO – 90 S-points
- Event #37 (June 16) $800 NLHE Deepstack – 112 S-points
- Event #53 (June 23) $800 NLHE Deepstack 8-Handed – 86 S-points
- Event #59 (June 25) $600 NLHE Deepstack Championship – 120 S-points
- Event #64 (June 28) Crazy Eights $888 NLHE – 92 S-points
- Event #71 (July 2) Salute to Warriors $500 NLHE – 102 S-points
As you might surmise, the weekly seniors and PLO events fall behind the bracelet events in structure integrity – significantly, in fact, with the seniors event meriting 46 S-points and the PLO getting 43 S-points.
Still, it’s hard to complain about the 2019 WSOP schedule overall and the amount of play you get for these low buy-ins.
Johnny Kampis is a longtime Vegas visitor and author of the Essential Guide to Vegas during the World Series of Poker and Vegas or Bust: A Family Man Takes on the Poker Pros. Follow him on Twitter @TuscaloosaJohn.