So you're heading to Las Vegas this summer for the 2016 World Series of Poker. Whether you're a first-timer – like 888 qualifier Tommy Yates was last year – or you're a seasoned veteran, it seems there's something new for poker players each and every year.
The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino will once again play host to poker's ultimate seven-week festival, which for the second year is being sponsored by us here at 888poker. As such, we thought it'd be worthwhile to share with you some new things you can expect at the Rio for the 2016 WSOP
1.) Buzio's Becomes Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho
Buzio's Seafood Restaurant has long been a staple for WSOP hopefuls, but alas it is no more.
The restaurant area, which is located at the front entrance to the WSOP convention centre, is still there, but it's morphed into El Burro Borracho, a new Mexican restaurant by TV star and restaurateur Guy Fieri.
El Burro Borracho, whose only other location is at Harrah's Laughlin, is Spanish for “drunken donkey”, and the restaurant, which is open now, features Mexican dishes such as Crispy Mahi Mahi Juan Tacos, Lava Rock Shrimp, and Flaming Queso Fundido, just to name a few. Of course, there will also be tequila, margaritas, and cocktails readily available.
We bid adieu to Buzio's, but encourage you to check out El Burro Borracho this summer.
2.) New and Improved Online Poker Registration
The WSOP has long offered players the option of registering for events via wire transfer and cashier's check, but this year they have another option – registering with a credit card. The WSOP has partnered with Genesis Gaming Solutions, Inc. – the same folks who run the Bravo Poker Tournament Software – to allow players to buy into events that cost $1,500 and under.
Visa, MasterCard, Discover & Diners Club Only will be accepted, and once a card has been verified (which will take at least 72 hours for the first use, but instantaneous after that) players can register and then pick up their ticket at a WSOP "Fast Track Kiosk". The process is akin to the check-in boarding pass machine you might encounter at an airport.
It's important to note that the credit card option is only available to those who register in advance, meaning you won't be able to show up at the Rio and register with your card at the cage. That's not how it works. Also note, there will be a $3 processing fee added to each event transaction and a credit card charge for an additional 2.95%
3.) Update Your Own Chip Counts
This summer, the WSOP is launching ChipIn, a new live reporting tool that allows players to add their chip counts into the official WSOP chip count list via their smartphone or tablet.
All you need to do is go to www.WSOP.com/ChipIn and get verified by providing your name, Total Rewards number (yes, you must have a card to use this feature), and your date of birth. Do that and you're set to get your name in the headlines – or at least the chip counts – all summer long.
4.) Contact the WSOP's Media Czar
Firstly, if you don't have a Twitter account, we highly recommend you get one. It's a powerful social media tool used by the majority of the poker world, and during the WSOP, it's a great way to keep atop of the action.
In addition, this summer, players and fans alike will be able to interact with the famed Kevin Mathers, who is known online and on Twitter as "Kevmath". Mathers, a Twitter guru, has been hired by the WSOP to run both their @WSOP and @WSOPcom accounts, as well as assisting with Jack Effel's @WSOPTD and @WSOPChipIn accounts.
That means if you have a question this summer – from finding a seat draw to what time the Poker Kitchen closes, and everything in between – you can find the answer simply by Tweeting.
"We are very excited to have Mr. Mathers out in Las Vegas for the entire WSOP, and you will be able to find him in the WSOP Media Centre if you want to say hello or buy him a drink," the WSOP said in their press release. "We should also mention that Kevin won’t be on the accounts 100% of the time. We have to give him some days off and manageable hours, so if you get some smarmy response, rest-assured, Kevin is off duty getting some rest."
5.) Free Shuttle from Bally's to Rio
If you're not staying at the Rio, getting to and from the WSOP can be tricky. There's usually plenty of parking, and of course, there are taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts to be had, but if you're looking to save on expenses and happen to be staying on the Strip, the Rio offers a free shuttle to sister properties Bally's/Paris and Harrah's.
The shuttle only runs from the Rio to Bally's/Paris or Harrah's, so don't expect it to take you from Bally's/Paris to Harrah's, and vice versa. In other words, this is only for folks going and coming from the Rio. The shuttle runs daily from 10 am. to 1 am. and pick-up times at each location are approximately every 30 minutes.
At the Rio, the pick-up location is just outside the Carnival World Buffet entrance; at Bally's, it's at the Race and Sports Book entrance (side of Flamingo Rd); and at Harrah's, it's at the Shuttle/Bus/Trolley drop-off.
What are your tips and tricks when at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino during the WSOP? Let us know on Twitter @888poker.