2007 WSOP Tournament Schedule Proposal

22 August 2006

After covering my first World Series of Poker (WSOP) live and reading what some of the professional players are proposing for a 2007 WSOP tournament schedule, I have decided to release my recommendations for next year.

1.) Have one tournament per game type and per buy-in amount. There should be only one $1500 No-Limit Hold'em tournament just like there is only one $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em tournament. When reviewing a year's bracelet winners, you should be able to identify the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Champion the same way you can identify the Main Event Champion. This should be true of every event in every discipline.

2.) Hold a $10,000 Championship Event for every major game type. No-Limit Hold'em (Main Event), Limit Hold'em, 7-Card Stud, and Pot-Limit Omaha should all have a $10,000 World Championship Event. This would add prestige to some of the lesser-known games and add some popularity to the non-No-Limit Hold'em games in the minds of the public. These championship events should be held once a week, in-step with some of the other popular events to ensure there is a major event happening every weekend of the WSOP.

3.) Keep the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E event. The way this year's event went down, the tournament quickly became the tournament to decide who is poker's best all-around player. If you need proof, just examine the final table. It was filled with the world's best mixed-game players. I like making this the mid-point of the series and I enjoyed WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack's reference to this event as the WSOP all-star game. Keep the event the same and keep it in the middle of the WSOP. While I'm on the topic, I'd also like to add that the final table should continue to be H.O.R.S.E. I think everyone agrees that switching to a No-Limit Hold'em tournament after three or four days of H.O.R.S.E. play is ridiculous.

4.) Add a heads-up event. Daniel Negreanu suggested this in his syndicated blog and I agree with him. Considering the popularity of NBC's Heads-Up Championship, I agree that adding this event would make for a great WSOP tournament. I do not agree with Negreanu making it a "bracelet-winner-only tournament" because a gold bracelet does not necessarily translate into a good heads-up player. However,I agree the field should be limited. To ensure that only the best players enter the tournament, increase the buy-in to an amount similar to the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E event.

5.) Add a bracelet-winner-only tournament and call it the Tournament of Champions (TOC). If only former bracelet winners can enter this tournament, it will make for exceptional television. I think the last few TOCs have been boring and too invitation heavy. I understand that media outlets like ESPN want to include players from the Main Event final tables because people recognize them, but let's be real. A tournament of champions should not include people who have never won a tournament. If you're going to have a TOC, make it a TOC. Sounds simple because it is simple.

6.) Make the WSOP 50-percent Hold'em. That's what the people want, so give it to them. If most people want to play Hold'em, who is the WSOP to deny their wishes? However, enough is enough. The professional and poker aficionados want to see less Hold'em, so let's meet half way, make Hold'em the most represented poker discipline, but don't overdo it by making 75 percent of the events one game-type.

7.) Add a 5-Card Draw event. As Casino City reporter Aaron Todd reminded me, it's the poker game we all learn first. Plus, I think it can be a very television friendly event, mainly because the professionals might attend in droves and it's a very bluff-dependent game. Few can resist the charms of such a simple event, but many of us would like to learn how to play it correctly.

8.) Don't limit the number of players in any event. I had plans to play in the $1,500 WSOP Event #2. I am a low-limit player who wanted to fulfill a simple dream of playing in a smaller WSOP event. When I went to sign up for the tournament, I was told I couldn't because the event was sold out. Another woman who was standing in line with me met the same fate. Neither of us had the means to extend our Vegas stays, thus, there was no WSOP event for us in 2006. This is not right. The reason poker is so popular is the rag-to-riches story, the ability for anyone to buy-in or qualify for an event and walk away with life-changing money or the all-important gold bracelet. Even if the high participant totals take away from the integrity of the game by adding an additional element of luck, so be it. Poker is only going to grow for so long, so while the game is popular, let anyone who wants to play into the tournaments. By allowing people to fulfill their dreams, WSOP officials are furthering the sport and creating lifetime players who will continue to compete even when poker's popularity wanes.

Perhaps some of these suggestions will make their way to WSOP officials and from what I hear, some of them are already being considered. In closing, I'd like to say that this year's WSOP was fantastic and fun to watch, but there's nothing wrong with trying to tweak the events a little to give people a little more of what they want.

If you agree or disagree, send me an email and we'll debate. And speaking of debates, stay tuned for the second round of Casino City Debates (CCD), where Aaron Todd and I will debate the merits of my arguments as they apply to the 2007 WSOP.


Mucking McLane

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