Friday, June 14, 2024

5 things to watch at the 2024 World Series of Poker

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It’s tough to top a good poker rivalry, and two of the game’s bright young stars will go head-to-head all summer long at the World Series of Poker starting Tuesday.

Jeremy Becker and Landon Tice are involved in a crossbook bet that will see the players compare their results at the end of the series. The one with the most money earned will win an additional sum.

But this is also a battle between poker giants Daniel Negreanu and Matt Berkey.

Negreanu has a staking deal with Becker, and it was his post on X listing potential WSOP matchups that started the wheels in motion on the bet. When Tice saw the post suggesting he and Becker would be a good pairing, Tice responded about an hour later suggesting a crossbook. Tice is backed by Berkey, and the terms of the bet were agreed on quickly.

Plenty of side action also has come in, with many of the biggest names in poker eager to take Becker or Tice.

“We both got what we wanted,” Tice told WorldPokerTour.com in April.

Here are five more things to watch this summer at the WSOP, which takes place at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas:

1. Main Event growth

The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship drew a record field last year, topping 10,000 entrants for the first time. Will there be another surge, or was that the ceiling?

The WSOP and online poker sites are running promotions and satellites for entries to the Main Event, which begins July 3. And poker continues to see a spike in popularity globally, meaning another record is not out of the question.

“Poker continues to grow organically throughout the world,” WSOP vice president Jack Effel said. “We’re expecting a record turnout. We’re planning for bigger than ever. We’re planning for better than ever.”

2. Lower buy-ins

One of the most notable changes at the WSOP in recent years is the proliferation of more affordable tournaments on the schedule, such as the $300 buy-in Gladiators of Poker No-limit Hold’em.

Whether it’s the $500 buy-in WSOP Kickoff No-limit Hold’em Freezeout that starts Wednesday or the $777 buy-in Lucky 7’s No-limit Hold’em the final week, there are tournaments running all summer that cost less than a ticket to an Adele show at Caesars Palace.

For those with a more modest bankroll, there are five tournaments from June 25 to July 3 ranging in buy-ins from $400 (Colossus No-limit Hold’em) to $800 (Independence Day Celebration No-limit Hold’em).

3. Negreanu’s slump

While many of Negreanu’s contemporaries continue to earn gold bracelets for WSOP victories, the popular pro remains stuck on six for his career. Is this the summer the Las Vegas resident finally ends the drought?

Negreanu has had success on the PokerGO Tour recently, including a victory at the Pot-limit Omaha series in March for $147,500 after a first-place finish in January. But his last bracelet came at the 2013 WSOP Europe, and he hasn’t won an event at the WSOP in Las Vegas since 2008.

Expect Negreanu to play a lighter schedule than usual. If he makes a final table, expect a large crowd at the Horseshoe to see if he can finally bring No. 7 home.

4. What’s in the box?

No format has gained more popularity in recent years than bounty tournaments, which give players the chance to win large prizes for knocking out an opponent without needing to make the final table.

This year has no less than seven on the schedule and is highlighted by the return of the $1,000 buy-in Mystery Millions No-limit Hold’em event with a guaranteed $1 million for the top bounty. The $1,000 buy-in Mystery Bounty Pot-limit Omaha tournament is a new addition.

Other bounty events of note include the $10,000 buy-in Mystery Bounty No-limit Hold’em and the $10,000 buy-in Super Turbo Bounty No-limit Hold’em Freezeout.

5. Online bracelets

After announcing it was combining the online player pools in Nevada, Michigan and New Jersey into one network, the WSOP Online bracelet event schedule was released Saturday.

There are 30 tournaments starting Saturday, including five high rollers. There will be gold bracelets up for grabs every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday of the series with the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Online Championship main event set for July 11.

The new WSOP software allows for Pot-limit Omaha events, multitabling, mystery bounty tournaments and multi-flight re-entry events.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on X.

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