The 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP), sponsored by 888poker, is underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. There have already been three bracelets awarded to Jordan Hufty, who won Event #1: $565 Casino Employees for $61,909; Elio Fox, who took down Event #2: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty NLHE for $393,693 and his second bracelet. 2009 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Cada, won his third bracelet in Event #3: $3,000 NLHE Shootout for $226,218.

The Super Turbo Bounty was just one of several news events on the schedule, and players seemed to like it.

“I was quite surprised how big it got,” said 888poker Ambassador Chris Moorman, who played in the event. “No one thought it’d get anywhere near 243 players. It was a good field, a mix of recreational and elite players. It was enjoyable with the bounty element. I’d like to see it back.”

1. More Bracelets & More Tourneys after ME

The $10K Super Turbo was just one of nine new events on this year’s WSOP schedule. Event #5: $100,000 NLHE High Roller is another new addition and marks the largest buy-in in WSOP history without a charity component (in other words, outside the One Drop tournaments).

Following in the footsteps of last year’s No-Limit Hold’em GIANT, the WSOP has introduced a pot-limit Omaha version. Event #11: $365 PLO GIANT features starting flights every Sunday night through June 1.

Another new tournament is Event #34: $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em, which will start players with twice as many chips as normal. It features two starting flights and unlimited re-entries.

In July, both Event #67: $1,500 PLO Bounty and Event #73: $1,000 Double Stack NLHE will play out. The latter is different than the other $1K double stack in that it’s a freezeout with only one flight. On July 12, Event #75: $1,500 “The Closer” will take place. It boasts a $1,000,000 guarantee.

Then, on July 13, Event #77: $50,000 High Roller will begin. Like the other High Roller, it will use big blind antes and a shot clock. There’s a new online event, but we’ll expand about more below.

Finally, the WSOP has altered their schedule to allow for more events after the Main Event. Unlike years past where the Main Event closed things out, 13 tournaments won’t start until after the “Big One” is underway.

2. Esports Stage in Pavilion Room

Esports comes to 2018 WSOP

Arguably the most enjoyable new addition to this year’s WSOP is the UMG Esports Stage in the Pavilion. It’s a place where players can go to compete in a variety of gaming titles including Fortnite, Hearthstone, and FIFA.

“Last year we watched our initiative to grow esports in Las Vegas grow by leaps and bounds,” explains Dave Antony, CEO at UMG. “Bringing the UMG Esports Stage into the World Series of Poker events is an amazing next step in continuing this initiative into 2018 and beyond.”

The UMG Esports Stage, which will be open every day, features games in multiple genres playable on both Xbox One and PC.

3. New Player of the Year System

In response to player feedback, the WSOP has adjusted their POY formula to better reward bracelet winners and players who run deep. A points calculator is available on the WSOP website, so players can toy around with how many points they might earn for any given event based on total entries and finishing place. It’s also worth noting that closed events don’t award points, nor do Event #55: $1,000 Tag Team and Event #78: $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop.

The most significant difference between 2017 and 2018 is the ratio of points awarded for a win vs points awarded for a min-cash. In 2017, the examples above range from 3.25-1 (for the $10,000 PLO/8) to 8.16-1 (for the Main Event). In 2018, that ratio is always roughly 20-1.

The 2018 WSOP POY won’t be determined this summer, though. Like last year, events at the WSOP Europe at King’s Casino in Rozvadov count, meaning players will have to wait until October 11 – November 2 to close it out.

4. Introduction of the Big Blind Ante

Big blind ante fever is sweeping the poker world, and after testing it out on their Circuit series, the WSOP is bringing it to Vegas. Just eight of the 78 tournaments on the schedule will feature the big blind ante.

The aforementioned Event #5: $100,000 NLHE High Roller will be the first to utilise both the big blind ante format and shot clocks.

Here’s a look at all the bracelet and side events using the BB ante this summer:

Big Blind Ante Events at 2018 WSOP

5. Mothership Back in the Amazon Room

This change isn’t so much a change as a return to glory. In 2017, the WSOP toyed with moving the ESPN Main Stage, dubbed the “Mothership,” to the Brasilia Room. It was a drastic shift from the Amazon Room, which had housed the primary final table for over a decade.

It wasn’t a failure by any means, but it just felt off. After sticking with it last summer, officials decided to bring it back to the Amazon Room, and players seem to like it, though not everyone was for it.

“The one year it was in the Brasilia Room, I won,” Moorman said with a laugh. Indeed, last year he took down the 2017 WSOP Event #27: $3,000 NLHE 6-Max for $498,682 and his first bracelet. “Overall, I think it’s pretty good that it’s back, though. In the 11 or 12 years I’ve played here, it’s been in the Amazon Room. It makes you more motivated when you’re going deep at the outer tables.”

6. Expanded Online Offerings & Shared Liquidity on WSOP.com

Another new tournament on the schedule is Event #47: $565 WSOP.com Online Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed, which marks the first time in history an online PLO bracelet will be awarded. It is just one of four online bracelet events this summer. Others include Event #10: $365 NLE, Event #61: $1,000 NLHE, and Event #63: $3,200 High Roller.

For the first time ever, players from Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey will be able to compete for an online bracelet - thanks to shared liquidity, which happened on May 1.

Finally, the 25 Seat Scramble returns July 1st, with 25 WSOP Main Event seats guaranteed to be won.

7. More Food Options

The WSOP Café was expanded to offer players more options in 2018. From Grab-n’-Go snack to the Fresh Market Salad. There are also several stations including Burrito, BBQ, Smoothie and Pho Noodle stations. Additionally, famed French Boulangerie Patisserie La Tropeziēnne will supply a limited number of handmade sandwiches daily. The area also offers more seating, phone charging stations, and an outdoor patio.

For those wondering, the popular hot dog cart will also be back.

8. The Use of Shot Clocks

888poker was an industry pioneer in utilising a shot clock, and now the WSOP is bringing it to three of their events. The $100K High Roller, $50K High Roller and $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. In those events, players will be allotted thirty seconds per decision, though they will receive four timebank chips. (They turn in unused ones and get four new ones each day).

Stay tuned to 888poker as we bring you updates and articles throughout the 2018 WSOP!

About the Author
By
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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