WSOP Lays Out New Plans to Speed Up Tournament Play in 2018

May 17th, 2018 by CardsChat Tournament News

In an attempt to speed up play and keep things fresh in the 49th running of the World Series of Poker, 2018 will see new formats, new structures, and some new procedures among the tweaks to activity at the Rio this summer.


The 2018 WSOP will see the introduction of a Big Blind Ante in 2018. (Source:

For many players, nothing ruins the WSOP experience like slow play and unnecessary tanking. Seeing just six or seven hands an hour can be downright painful. Now, WSOP organizers are taking cues from other tournaments in trying to solve such issues.

One of the most noteworthy changes will be the introduction of the “big blind ante” in select tournaments, while other events will rely on a “shot clock” to keep the action moving.

The WSOP will also have a new look and a new avenue for competition, as a giant an esports stage will be set up in the Pavillion Room.

Players will have the chance to enter brand new tournaments, and events with revamped and deeper structures. Meanwhile, the elite who are gunning for WSOP Player of the Year have a new formula to navigate.

Ante Up … No, Not You

Antes are a crucial component of tournament poker, but let’s face it, the endless tiny triviality of it all has a way of making the game more challenging, particularly for those recreational players all of poker seems eager to court.

We’ve all watched as the dealer endlessly struggles to collect an ante from every player before each hand. There’s the guy on his phone who has to be constantly reminded. There’s the guy with headphones on who inadvertently ignores the dealer’s pleas. Inevitably, there will be a dispute about which ante belongs to whom, and who paid up and who didn’t.

These are the problems that spawned the big blind ante format, and true to form, this year the WSOP is taking the concept for a test drive.

Instead of all players posting an ante every hand, the player in the big blind will post a single ante that is equivalent to the big blind.

In addition to two of the Daily Deepstack Tournaments (the 4 pm and 10 pm tournaments), and many of the daily satellites, the new big blind ante format will be used in eight bracelet events.

WSOP Tournaments Using Big Blind Ante

Event #5: $100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
Event #13: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Event #20: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em
Event #45: $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em
Event #54 $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em
Event #74: $10,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em
Event #77: $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
Event #78: $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop

Organizers wanted to introduce the concept in a select few events before deciding if they want to use the big blind ante even more in coming years.

But the big blind ante won’t be the only attempt to increase speed of play. The much ballyhooed shot clock — which has become standard at 30 seconds on the World Poker Tour as well as tournaments for 888Live, Dusk til Dawn, and other international festivals — will be introduced at the WSOP for its three highest stakes events.

WSOP Tournaments Using a Shot Clock

Event #5: $100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
Event #77: $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
Event #78: $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop

New Events, More Chips

The Daily Deep Stack tournaments have become extremely popular with players at all levels, and with an extra 5,000 chips to start with, they’ll have a little more play to them this year. Early birds will also like the fact that two of the daily tournaments — the 2 pm and 5 pm – will start one hour earlier in 2018.

Those with a bigger prize in mind will see a change to the way the WSOP Player of the Year award is calculated. The new formula will better reward bracelet winners and those who consistently make deep runs in tournaments.

And they’ll have more chances than ever to rack up those POY points, as 2018 will see a total of nine new events. Highlights include a $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty, a $100,000 High Roller, a $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty, and a tournament called “The Closer”, which offers a guaranteed $1 million prize pool for a $1,500 buy in.

The WSOP will also host a new, non-bracelet High Roller Series. The Kings Lounge will be the home of a $25,000 buy-in event every weekend from June 1 to July 8.

Poker’s biggest event kicks off in less than two weeks. Event #1, the $565 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em tournament, will shuffle up and deal at 3 pm on May 30.

9 Responses to “WSOP Lays Out New Plans to Speed Up Tournament Play in 2018”

  1. ThatGuy says:

    The Big Blind ante is a mistake. It changes how you play the hand and it cripples the BB when he is short stacked. If he is down to 2 big blinds then he is all in on the next hand. In normal ante he would see 9 hands with the same stack and would have a better chance to choose a good hand to go all-in on.

  2. Peter Jankowski says:

    I agree with ThatGuy The big bling idea is a poor concept and forces bad play by short stacks needlessly. The issues stated above effecting game speed are not as bad as stated and with a good dealer correct themselves. It is just a bad idea and effects the MTT game poorly I do like the shot clock idea.

  3. cwdignus says:

    six to seven hands per hour really is very slow … I had no idea how slow a game was at this WSOP ….. congrats to the organizers who had the initiative to improve the tournament for the 2018 season

  4. Sil3ntness says:

    I actually like the big blind ante. It is so annoying when people fight at the table over who’s ante is placed in the middle. Also there is always one person who continues to put their ante out slowing the action down.

  5. Sil3ntness says:

    *EDIT* Should read “Who forgets to put their ante out slowing the game down.

  6. meagain00 says:

    Really boring 6 or 7 hands per hour. It’s extremely important try to improve this for the next event. The question about big blinds I can see when I play live. Exactly as was mentioned. A guy with headphone, another on the mobile, and a fight for the chips on the center of the table. I can’t believe that BB ante will solve this question, but it seems to be a good idea for gain velocity.

    The shot clock I think is like in the chess game, and, as the online game, the people have to be limited on time to play, it’s about respect, too.

    Nice news for this year. WSOP is coming! Go CC!


  7. Larry Robbins says:

    The Clock is the best idea to speed play – I would eliminate all headphones, phones, electronic devices – not necessary for POKER. I can’t believe they allow them now?

    One BB is a bad concept. A BB SB light at each seat would be OK to remind players at their turn again with a clock for them to respond – like 15 seconds – then they are penalized a small blind.

    Seems like the table arrangements could be improved – not all in one big group – that has to ne MASS confusion.


  8. CRStals says:

    Having played the button ante I much prefer this method over the BB ante. The BB isn’t crippled by paying the blind and antes at once, and I’d guess more people would forget about the ante on the blinds than on the button.

    I do applaud them for the shot clock on the three biggest events – I think doing it in the ME right now would be a mistake as a lot of recs would be totally lost in that moment.

    Some of the new event additions are interesting – a PLO Bounty and the Closer sound like they could be hits out of the gate.

    Regardless it should be a real interesting summer watching who rises to the top of the POY rankings and who ultimately wins the Main.

  9. albosaltenio says:

    Brazil is one of the countries with the largest number of poker players, plus the large number of foreign players who will go.
    this surely generated concern in the organizers to organize the structure of the tournaments.
    Rio is a place that many like to go and added to that there will be a great poker tournament there will be many people who will go.

    I wish you good luck and enjoy this stop very much

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