(Way) Outside the WSOP – 2009 Preview

by , May 26, 2009 | 5:37 am

The WSOP unofficially starts at 9am today as the Amazon Room at the Rio opens for registration, cash games and satellites before the tournaments begin Wednesday with Event #1, the $500 Casino Employees tournament. That’s as good a reason as any to do the preview for this year’s World Series of Poker, so here’s some things to look out for during the Series:

1. How much the world economy affects the poker economy. Big buy-in tournaments in the US have fallen by double digits, while season 5 of the European Poker Tour has experienced large fields and prize pools. The $40,000 40th anniversary WSOP tournament is event #2 on the schedule, which some believe is the best way to decimate field size as ~90% of the field will be out $40,000. This is also the first tournament where people are making over/under bets on the size of the field. The extremely useful WSOP Staff Resource Guide expects a field of 150, while many are expecting somewhere between 200-250. For those with much smaller bankrolls, Saturday’s $1,000 “Stimulus Special” starts with a field of over 5,000 over two day 1’s playing down to a winner on Tuesday. Another change that will help the players’ rolls is the elimination of rebuy tournaments this year. Why this was done depends on who you talk to (prevents people from buying a bracelet, more fair to players who don’t have deep pockets, preventing tournament staff from taking rebuy money, etc)

2. More tournaments! More chips! More levels! More Pros win!? The 2009 WSOP will have plenty of opportunity for players to win bracelets, with 57 bracelets up for grabs in Vegas (up from 55). It has also been called the year of value by tournament staff; giving its players triple the buy-in starting chips, and adding levels to several tournaments. Last year several well known players won their first bracelets (Nenad Medic, Erick Lindgren, Kenny Tran, Dario Minieri and John Phan among them), so it’s expected that players such as Patrik Antonius, Gavin Smith, Tom Dwan and Andy Bloch could take down some fine gold jewelry of their own.

3. A kindler, gentler WSOP? Last year’s antics by Scotty Nguyen and Phil Hellmuth, and the lack of enforcement of the rules against them, caused much controversy. Part of this year’s staff this past weekend included something called “Handling Challenging Situations” so the hope is they’ll be better suited to handle any problems over the next 7+ weeks. This year’s WSOP has also put their Code of Conduct directly into the tournament rules along with promises of a written log of all penalties and warnings and more even enforcement of the rules. The rules on profanity have been changed yet again, this time all profanity is not allowed in the poker room. It’ll be interesting to see how stringent this particular rule gets enforced.

4. Will Twitter rule over the WSOP? Twitter has really exploded over the past few months, while some were all over Twitter last year, it took a while for the rest of us to get into the game.

That’s plenty of preview from me, so be sure to make Pokerati one of your places to go to follow during the WSOP. Dan, California Jen and the rest of Team Pokerati will be sure to have all sorts of good stuff to write about while at the Rio, while I’ll be hopefully be writing from a remote location each morning and afternoon with a review and preview of each day’s action.

8 Comments to “(Way) Outside the WSOP – 2009 Preview”

  1. BJ Nemeth

    I’m looking forward to reading your stuff again this year, KevMath. Your daily reviews were among the best out there, in any and all media. Most people have the same basic information to work with, but you excel at picking out what’s important/relevant and making interesting connections that most people miss entirely.

    I plan to read your stuff before I write my own so I look less stupid. 🙂

  2. scott diamond

    Yes Kevmath I also enjoy reading your posts, but BJ, If I know anything at all, you are never “less stupid”. You are the best at writing in the Poker Community in my book!

    I hope you two have a great “Battle” of Poker articles the next 6 weeks! I am looking forward to the reads!

  3. Poker Shrink

    I wonder how the $40,000 event #2 will affect the players who pony up the cash and walk away with zip. Big chunk of a bankroll to flush the first few days of the Series. Pros are betting over/under at 250 entrants and it appears the smart money is on the over.

  4. DanM

    ***Pros are betting over/under at 250 entrants and it appears the smart money is on the over.***

    I’ll take the under on that for $20, Shrink, if you’re interested.

  5. DanM

    ***[BJ] You are the best at writing in the Poker Community in my book!***

    That is such bullshit, diamond. I should so ban you!

  6. scott diamond

    WOW! No freedom of speech here? Sorry I speaketh the truth! I guess I have a ban coming before WSOP 🙁

  7. BJ Nemeth

    I’ve been predicting more than 300 for the $40K event ever since the WPT World Championship, but nobody will give me action on it — even people who predict fewer than 200.

    I think Poker Shrink is the big favorite if he gets money down on the over of 250 entrants.

  8. tbonezz111

    Biggest reason in my book for the “over” to come in on 250 is that EVERYONE wants this once in a poker lifetime bracelet. Yeah, you could win the Main Event and be one of 25/27….. whatever the number all the bloggers agree on….. OR you could be the ONLY winner of the 40th Anniversary tournament bracelet. Also, there are the following reasons:

    1. All the “Pros” want this bracelet… by pros I mean everyone backed by a poker playing site … how would Poker Stars love to broadcast that…..

    B. Every serious poker playing Celebrity will probably be involved just for the PR this event will bring….


    III. It’s one of the only events that will get major air time on ESPN.