BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: MAY 24, 2011
Going to Vegas for 2011 WSOP? Here’s What You Should Know
Poker’s biggest and most anticipated annual competition kicks off Tuesday (May 31), with a record 58 coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelets up for grabs.
Also available are untold thousands of indelible memories for poker players of all abilities.
Last year’s WSOP delivered nine of the 17 largest tournaments in poker history. Prize money totaled $187 million, and the 72,966 total entries set a record.
WSOP officials are gearing up for another monster turnout, with nearly 400 poker tables filling 96,000 square feet of space in the Pavilion and Amazon Rooms at the Rio Casino.
If you go to Las Vegas in the next six weeks, here are a few things about the 2011 WSOP you should know:
* For players with limited bankrolls, check out the $1,000 buy-in events designed for “weekend warriors.” These tournaments feature weekend starts throughout June and into July. (Check www.wsop.com/tournaments for details.)
To win, you’ll have to battle your way through a huge field — probably 6,000-plus for the first one, June 4-5 — but the payouts are spectacular.
* If you’re at least 50 years old, you also can play in the Seniors Championship on June 17 for $1,000. You’ll have lots of company there, too — last year’s seniors event set a record with 3,142 players and nearly $500,000 going to the winner.
The other $1,000 buy-in tourney is the Ladies Championship on July 1.
* To reduce the stress and strain of long tournament sessions, the WSOP has instituted hard stop times for events. Excluding the Main Event, the maximum playing day will last 10 one-hour levels for noon events and eight one-hour levels for 5 p.m. tournaments, regardless of how many players remain.
A minimum 12-hour overnight break between sessions now is built into the schedule for each tourney, which should reduce player exhaustion and yield stronger performances.
* No matter when you visit the WSOP, you’ll have lots of non-bracelet tournament options during your stay. There are three daily deep-stack no-limit hold ‘em tournaments from May 30 to July 16.
The buy-ins get cheaper as the day progresses: $235 for 2 p.m. events, $185 at 6 p.m., and $135 at 10 p.m. So, even without a bracelet event on your schedule, you can have the WSOP experience for just a few hundred dollars in any of these daily tournaments, played in the same rooms as the major events.
* The best free feature at the WSOP this year is a series of 11 poker seminars conducted by top pros to raise money for the Bad Beat on Cancer organization.
Depending on when you’re in Vegas, for example, you can catch a session by Doyle Brunson (June 17) talking about “A Poker Life,” one by Annette Obrestad (July on “Playing the Turn and River” or the concluding session by Phil Hellmuth (July 10) on “11 Ways to Play Stronger No-Limit Hold ‘em.”
The one-hour seminars are scheduled on weekends beginning June 4. All sessions start at 10:30 a.m. in the Brasilia Ballroom and include time for questions. (See www.wsop.com for the full schedule.)
Although admission is free, the hope is that attendees either will donate $20 to Bad Beat on Cancer or pledge 1 percent of their WSOP tournament winnings to the charity.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2011 RUSS SCOTT
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