Five Things To Look Forward To At The 2018 WSOP

Written By Katie Callahan on May 21, 2018 - Last Updated on May 22, 2018
Rio Casino in Las Vegas at night

May has already been full of surprises, and with the 49th World Series of Poker on the way, this month shows no signs of slowing down.

Coming into the WSOP, players should be mindful of new online poker registrations and where to get the best snacks, but here are the things players should really get excited about, thanks to the WSOP and Caesars.

Shared liquidity

There are a lot of firsts on this list, but this is by far the most monumental. New Jersey players can enter official online WSOP gold bracelet events alongside Nevada participants this year. With that new opportunity also comes a new loyalty reward program, Poker Rewards, that gives players up to 32 percent rakeback. 888 and Caesars hope to bring in more players with this shared pool in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Shot clock

In the past few years, shot clocks have made their way into the tournament scene. This year, for the first time, the WSOP will use shot clocks for three events:

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

Big blind ante

The WSOP will use the big blind ante, a new format meant to pick up the pace of the game, for eight events. On top of those eight events, the $200 Deepstack (at 4 p.m.) and $150 Deepstack (at 10 p.m.) will use big blind antes. Essentially, only the player in the big blind will ante. Without each player anteing before the hand, the player in the big blind will post an amount equal to the big blind/ante in addition to the big blind.

The big blind changes the meaning of the ante. Instead of paying a specific ante each hand, players pay a specific amount each round. This will potentially even the playing field and make the game easier because players won’t have to remember to ante and dealers don’t have to collect antes.

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New Player of the Year calculation

This change starts with something familiar and then makes it even better, depending on who you ask. As done in the past, players that cash in open gold bracelet events receives Player of the Year points. Now, however, the type of win matters more. Those who win or final table will receive more points than those with min-cashes.

While in 2017 the wins ranged from 3.25 to 8 times more points than the amount of a min-cash (based on the event), now the ratio is always about 20:1.

The WSOP responded to player feedback in an effort to provide more rewards to those who won bracelets and ran deep in an event.

Taking from the points system already in place on the WSOP Circuit, the WSOP will utilize the same scale and modify it based on buy-in and number of entries.

Players who just can’t quite get the hang of it in a short amount of time need not worry. The points calculator will be on the WSOP website to give players approximate point counts based on events, entries, and finishing place. These points will also appear on the individual event results and prize pool tabs.

Points adjustments

This new system would not change the winner in 2017, but it would adjust the points received from 23 cashes, one bracelet, one runner-up finish, and an additional final table.

The 2018 Player of the Year race does include both the WSOP at the Rio (May 29 – July 17) and the WSOP Europe at King’s Casino (Oct. 11 – Nov. 2).

Among other changes, all players who cash in the Giant and PLO Giant will receive points, which will be calculated after the final starting flight (to get number of entries recorded). For heads-up and shootout events, players eliminated in the same round will receive the same number of points. In other words, they will receive the average of the points those places would have earned in a standard flight.

Players can cash multiple times, but the Player of the Year points will only trigger once for each event, based on the final results.

New events

Nine events will debut this WSOP. Here they are:

  • May 30: Event #2 – $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty (bounties: $3,000 ea.; 20-minute levels, one day only)
  • June 5: Event #5 – $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller (largest buy-in in WSOP history that isn’t for charity; big blind ante and shot clocks included)
  • June 3, 10, 17, 24, July 1: Event #11 – PLO GIANT – $365 Pot-Limit Omaha (starting flights each Sunday at 7 p.m. June 3 to July 1; flights combine for Day 2 and Day 3 (July 2-3).
  • June 16/17: Event #34 – $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em (double the chips at a $1,000 buy-in level; two starting flights; unlimited reentry).
  • June 22: Event #47 – $565 ONLINE Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed (first online Pot-Limit Omaha bracelet event; unlimited reentry; desktop software required)
  • July 6: Event #67 – $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty (first WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha bounty ever; $1,5000 buy-in; $500 bounties)
  • July 11: Event #73 – $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em (30-Minute Levels) (10,000 chips; freezeout with one starting day)
  • July 12: Event #75 – The Closer – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (30-Minute Levels) – $1 Million Guarantee (three starting flights, unlimited reentry, 15,000 starting chip stack)
  • July 13: Event #77 – $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller (big blind ante and shot clock included)

Photo by trekandshoot /

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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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