WSOP makes the right decision moving $50k tournament

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 26, 2011 Posted in WSOP News | No Comments »

One noticeable change on the 2011 World Series of Poker schedule is the move of the $50k Players Championship tournament from the beginning of the WSOP to just before the Main Event; the early start for the $50k Players Championship was something the poker community was vocally upset with last year.

While I understand the desire to start the WSOP off with a bang, here is why the WSOP finally got this decision right! The $50k Players Championship needs to be a high visibility tournament, because every single entrant is important when you are dealing with a $50,000 buy-in. Having just four players miss the event is a massive $200,000 hit to the prize-pool.

The problem with having the $50k buy-in tournament is two-fold:

Scheduling the $50k in proximity to the Main Event

Many of the non-professional poker playing high-rollers are only in town for the Main Event, so there are likely at least a dozen players who would miss the $50k Players Championship if it takes place far from the Main Event start day. High Rollers who are not going to stay in Vegas for the month and a half plus of the entire WSOP will most assuredly skip the $50k Players Championship and not the Main Event.

On the other hand, they have no problem heading to Vegas for a few extra days before the Main Event if it means they can participate in the Main Event!

Overall, I think this will add 10+ players to the tournament.

Big scores = Big bankrolls

By playing over 50 preliminary events –all with gigantic prize-pools—it’s likely some of the winners and players making big scores will enter the $50k tournament; basically there are more players with the bankroll to play a 450k tournament at the end of the WSOP compared to the beginning.

The reality of the situation is that anyone who has a miserable WSOP is not going to skip the $50k Players Championship because of it; since it’s highly unlikely they were bankrolled for the Players Championship in the first place. On the flip side, players who make a $500k score may just be willing to throw $50k of it on the table to take part in the Players Championship.

You’ll also get some backers willing to put a hot player into the tournament, or buy a sizable piece of them.

Overall, I think this will add 15+ players to the tournament.

The WSOP did a good job of replacing the $50k Players Championship early on at the WSOP with the addition of the $25k Heads-Up Championship; a tournament that is almost exclusively aimed at the top poker players in the world and therefore will not be hurt by being scheduled at the start of the WOP.

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