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The 2022 WSOP takes place this week at Poker’s New Yankee Stadium.

To press conference In late May, before the start of the 53rd edition of the World Series of Poker, Lon McEachern, the televised voice of the event for the past two decades, compared the casinos that hosted the game’s iconic tournament series to stadiums famous baseball players.

Binion’s Horseshoe, the original home of the WSOP in downtown Las Vegas, was “the Wrigley Field of poker,” McEachern said. He assimilated the Rio, who took over in 2005 as the game exploded after-lucrative business and continued to host the WSOP until last fall, at San Francisco’s beloved but now defunct Candlestick Park.

The 2022 edition kicks off this week in not just one new venue, but two, with Bally’s and Paris on the Vegas Strip sharing the honor – and McEachern collectively calling them “poker’s new Yankee Stadium”.

The Bronx Bombers managed to win the other World Series in their first season at their current home. We’ll find out soon if this World Series can get out of the park as well.

Certainly, among the WSOP team, expectations are high.

“The Rio has been a big house for us,” McEachern’s broadcast partner Norman Chad said, “but I’m so glad we’re on the Strip. It’s going to be a big new energy here, and I think that is going to be a great new chapter for the World Series of Poker.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart added, “Being here on the Las Vegas Strip, across two resorts no less, is a key milestone, a milestone, for this event and for poker in general. . After 52 years, we’re finally a headliner, baby.

“We are now positioned to be a total Las Vegas experience, not [just] a poker tournament.

Bally’s/Paris Vice President and General Manager Jason Gregorec went from McEachern’s baseball analogies to a football reference to describe the new location.

“It’s history in the making, when you take the most iconic poker brand, with the legendary Horseshoe, [to] the 50-yard line of the Las Vegas Strip,” Gregorec said.

A record Main Event?

The first of 88 scheduled tournaments was scheduled to begin Tuesday at 11 a.m. Vegas time, with reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump performing the ceremonial call of “Shuffle up and deal!” before the opening hand. Many unique tournaments stand out during this month-and-a-half extravaganza, but the focus is always on the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, taking place this year at from July 3. -16.

Coming off of two COVID-impacted years that affected the structure of the tournament and the number of participants, Stewart wasn’t shy about making his prediction for the masses who will be flocking to the Strip in July.

“I’ll be aware that this year I’m taking over 8,774 – there’s no reason we shouldn’t break the all-time Main Event record,” Stewart said, quoting a line a player above the record that has since stood. 2006, when the last pre-UIGEA tournament attracted 8,773 players. “I expect we will. From what we’ve seen in trends around the world, we know there’s pent-up demand. … That should be the record.

Two possible counterpoints to consider: there is a significant overlap between poker enthusiasts and cryptocurrency investors, so the recent crypto crash could tighten some poker bankrolls; and COVID has repeatedly proven to be unpredictable (see the current wave of a highly contagious variant), so anyone who assumes the virus won’t be an issue come July is bracing for potential disappointment.

On the last pre-WSOP episode of the DAT Poker podcastco-hosted by six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu, the various hosts have all predicted numbers in the mid-7000s to mid-8000s.

Stewart teased at the press conference that there was a special Main Event bracelet in the works for this year’s winner, but he wouldn’t elaborate on what exactly would set it apart from all the other bracelets.

From front row to cheap seats

There’s more to the series, of course, than the Main Event, and there are prize tiers to suit almost any bankroll. Of the 88 tournaments, 28 have buy-ins of $10,000 or more, while 18 cost less than $1,000 to participate.

PokerGO will stream 21 bracelet events, including the Main Event – ​​with a slight delay, of course, so players can’t access their opponents’ hole cards in real time.

WSOP Vice President Jack Effel promised more dealers than ever – more than 1,000 – and more tables than ever at both venues, with 582 at last count.

While the multiple new locations will surely cause some confusion as players adjust to the different ballrooms and updated procedures, the World Series has made an effort to prepare attendees by releasing a brief video hosted by McEachern and Chad:

Further information and updates are available via the WSOP Twitter accountwhich is again maintained by the indefatigable poker journalist Kevin “KevMath“Mathers.

Other odds and ends to note:

  • Bally’s Las Vegas is about to rename by the end of the year under the name Horseshoe Las Vegas, and in the meantime, the facilities include a new poker area called “The Horseshoe”, intended to enhance the spectator experience. There are several function tables and gallery seats.
  • Gregorec noted that Bally’s is currently in the process of renovating its usual poker room, building a larger WSOP-branded room.
  • One of the perks of the Rio WSOP era was huge on-site parking, and players have expressed concern since the announcement of the move about the parking situation on the Strip. For the record, there are 3,800 parking spaces in the Paris garage, plus additional surface parking at Bally’s, although there is a “rake” of $18/day parking fee on weekdays and $23 $ on weekends. Effel pointed out, however, that parking is free for Platinum Caesars members.
  • Effel addressed the question of whether excessive entry numbers could cause tables to start at 10 players, instead of the standard nine players at a table. “There might be times when we might be 10 hands down,” he said. “But I think with over 1,000 dealers, we’re going to do everything we can to play as many nine-handed events as possible.”
  • Online WSOP bracelet events are still limited to players from Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Michigan is gearing up to enter the interstate player pool, but won’t clear the paperwork in time for action this summer, and Pennsylvania regulators have yet to knock down the geographic barriers separating its iPoker players from those in other states.

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