The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has unveiled dates for its 50th anniversary celebrations and is kicking off half a century of tournament poker in Las Vegas with a brand-new tournament. Big 50 is a new $500 buy-in, rake-free $5m guaranteed tournament, with $1m guaranteed for the event’s winner. For most poker players around the world, the WSOP is truly the pinnacle for Texas Hold’em and various other poker variants.
The WSOP is one of the longest-running poker tours in the history of the game. It has come a long way from its roots at the Binion’s Horseshoe, and is now a firm favourite at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. This summer’s festival will begin on May 30, with the Big 50 becoming the latest addition to the tournament schedule. It is thought that the WSOP is hoping the Big 50 will become one of its most successful poker tournaments of all time.
Ty Stewart, executive director, WSOP, labelled it a “golden event” and “one of the best value tournaments ever offered” as part of the WSOP annual festival. There will be four starting flights for the Big 50, such is the demand expected for the beginning of the festival’s 50th anniversary. All entrants will begin the Big 50 with 50,000 starting chips, playing to 50-minute blind levels. Players will be given one re-entry within each starting flight. Entrants’ first buy-in is rake-free, meaning that every cent of the initial buy-ins go straight into the prize pool.
It’s all geared towards whetting the appetite for the WSOP Main Event, which will begin again in earnest from July 3 and is due to commence on July 16. As with recent years, the WSOP Main Event will once again be broadcast fully on PokerGo and ESPN. The WSOP’s 50th anniversary celebrations have even boiled over into the Main Event, with entrants set to be given bigger starting stacks than usual of 60,000. However, the tournament will remain a freezeout with two-hour blind levels.
In every event on the 2019 WSOP schedule, starting stacks have been increased; dramatically in some cases. Some tournaments have been given four-fold increases to starting stacks. Some of the other 2019 WSOP events already announced include the re-emergence of the $1,500-entry Millionaire Maker, the Double Stack and Monster Stack tournaments with $1,000 and $1,500 entry fees respectively, as well as the ever-popular $1,000-entry Seniors Event, which will host some of the most experienced names in the world of professional poker.
The WSOP is no stranger to designing and launching headline-hitting poker tournaments. Who could forget the arrival of the $1m entry Big One for One Drop in 2012? Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari grabbed the headlines by winning the single-largest prize in sporting history, bagging the first prize worth $18.3m and the WSOP’s inaugural platinum bracelet. The Big One for One Drop pitted together some of the world’s wealthiest amateur poker players with the most talented professionals in a fascinating encounter. The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino is due to make dreams come true for many poker fanatics in 2019, with over $200m set to be made available in prize money. It’s yet another example of why Vegas remains the number-one entertainment capital of the world, from adrenaline-fuelled UFC fight nights to live concerts – it’s showtime!