A Bigger, Louder WSOP for 2012?

Table talk and celebration encouraged at Series, required at feature tables

by , May 8, 2012 | 1:10 pm

Jack Effel expects a “huge and great” 2012 World Series of Poker.

It certainly won’t be a quiet one.

“The poker room is not church,” Effel, the tournament director for the past 6 years, told poker media today. “You can talk in the poker room. We just feel that we need to set the tone to put the fun back into poker.”

A trimmed down WSOP TD Jack Effel promises to go easy on players who want to chat it up at the tables this year.

Table talk and celebration are allowed once again — and even encouraged, Effel and WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said.

“We’re going to relearn what it’s like to be at a poker table, understanding the verbal strategy,” Effel said.

Just don’t expose your cards, or talk when someone else has yet to act. Essentially, you can yap all you want if you’re closing the action.

This is something of a level, as one reporter pointed out: WSOP knows the ESPN cameras are on all the players who know the cameras are on them.

“We’ve rewritten the rules to say we want you to celebrate, just don’t get crazy,” Effel added, putting the kibosh on the 4-year-old “Hevad Khan rule.”

Players at a feature table are even required to announce their action.

At any given point between May 27 and July, there will be as many as 500 poker tables at the Rio. That’s the largest ever for a single event, Effel said.

This year’s WSOP offers 61 bracelets for events including a $1,500 “ante only” event, a $2,500 4-max event, a $3,000 heads-up NL/PLO event, and a $5,000 mix-max event. They’ve also added a couple quirky non-bracelet events, such as the $560 bracelet bounty, where players receive $500 for knocking out a bracelet winner, and a $560 (per player) doubles tournament, where players share a chip stack and alternate at each level.

They also announced the return of daily deep stack tournaments.

Stewart feels good about the prospect of a “second boom for poker,” even with Full Tilt player funds in limbo a year after Black Friday.

“This game is stronger than we all even hoped,” he said. “It has become truly global, and it is here to stay. It appears poker’s darkest days are behind us.”

A few other highlights from the conference call:

  • With a series of satellite events and a $25,000 mega satellite, the directors expect to fill the 48-player $1 million One Drop charity tournament to reach capacity.
  • Instead of the standard food comp, players this year will receive Caesars Total Reward credits for bracelet events based on the size of the buy-in.
  • The main event final table has been pushed up to Oct. 28, instead of the following month, when it would have interfered with the presidential election.

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