Breaking Down the 80 Bracelet Events on the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Schedule
Poker fans sure are in for a treat during the remainder of the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP).
The 2018 edition of poker’s most prestigious tournament festival attracted 123,865 unique entries from players representing 104 nations. All told, more than $266 million in prize money was awarded to players. And of the 78 gold bracelets claimed by tournament champions, the average winner took $655,337 home with them — along with poker’s premier prize.
But after taking one look at the 2019 schedule and its astounding 80 bracelet events, last year’s record-setting numbers are already drawing dead.
Although this year’s WSOP is already a bit over a week in, we’re going to take a look at all 80 of the events scheduled for the 2019 edition of the World Series of Poker.
As the 50th annual WSOP, this summer’s six-week series is designed to be a centerpiece for poker’s most established brand. Along with all of the staples you know and love — a slew of $1,000 no limit Texas hold’em events offering hometown heroes a chance to play with the pros, and of course, the $10,000 Main Event World Championship — the 2019 WSOP really does have something for everyone.
Low-stakes players — who traditionally found themselves boxed out of the bracelet race because of the old four-figure buy-in threshold — now have 11 unique events to choose from priced at under $1,000. In fact, for just $500, players were eligible to compete for a guaranteed first prize of $1 million in the newly christened “Big 50” event that was held on June 2nd.
WSOP organizers also went all-in on their “Deepstack” concept, providing players with a wealth of starting stack chips to work with in five sub-$1,000 buy-in level events.
It’s no wonder WSOP Vice President Jack Effel issued a public statement inviting players of all caliber, casual poker fans and veteran pros alike, to sample the 50th anniversary schedule.
“We hope everyone who loves the game of poker comes out to experience our big 50th.
We are confident you will find an event or two to your liking, and hopefully, one that allows you to raise the gold bracelet over your head at the end of it.”
Before we dive deep into each and every event on the 80-tournament schedule, take a moment to brush up on two fundamental transformations in how the WSOP goes down.
Big Blind Ante for All No Limit Texas Hold’em Events
Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the last year or two, you’ve probably heard about the big blind ante concept.
But just in case, here’s Seth Palansky — who serves as editor-in-chief for WSOP.com — laying out how the big blind ante works in a recent press release.
“The BB-ante is a fundamental rethinking of what the ante is.
The ante in this format is no longer a specified amount that each player pays each hand. It’s now a specified amount that each player pays each round.
If a player in the tournament does not have the required amount for both the Big Blind and the Ante, the Big Blind will be paid first, followed by the ante.”
As Palansky notes, changing how players ante up during a poker game — a process seemingly perfected over a century ago — is a major shift for players to consider.
We’ve all been there during a regular tournament played under the old rules, waiting 10 seconds or more for the last player to chip in their ante. The dealer will frustratedly announce “antes, please,” and hold the deck, unable to deal cards until that last ante is contributed. Invariably, folks who forget their antes are habitual offenders too, causing precious minutes to drain off the tournament clock while they hold the table hostage.
Over the last few years, though, intrepid tournament directors Paul Campbell at the Aria and Matt Savage from the World Poker Tour (WPT) have pioneered the big blind ante format. Rather than counting on nine individual players to toss an ante chip forward before each hand, the table’s combined ante amount is paid by the big blind player instead.
Thus, at a nine-handed table with blinds set at 250/500 and a 50-chip ante, the big blind would put in 500 as per usual, along with 450 to cover every player’s ante. On the next hand, the new big blind would do the same, and onward throughout the orbit.
This ingenious fix to how tournaments are played immediately speeds up the proceedings, as only one player is responsible for anteing up and not nine.
The big blind ante hasn’t been without its controversy, of course, as a great debate has raged between pros and tournament directors as to whether the button should pay the combined ante instead. Similarly, many critics of the change say the ante amount should be reduced when the table has less than nine players, while others insist on a no-reduction policy.
Nonetheless, the vast majority of players who experience the big blind ante for the first time become immediate converts.
Accordingly, the WSOP began experimenting with big blind ante integration last year during its WSOP Circuit and WSOP Europe offshoots. When the testing phase once again showed players overwhelmingly enjoyed a quicker pace and more hands per hour, head honchos at the WSOP decided to use the big blind ante in all no-limit Texas hold’em tournaments this summer.
Starting Chip Stacks Increased Across the Board
Another major change regular WSOP attendees have experienced in 2019 concerns starting stack size.
For as long as I can remember, players hopping in a standard $1,000 event were given 5,000 chips to begin the game. But with blinds set at 25/50 to start out, it only took a few blind levels of patient play, or an early loss of a decent pot, to put most of us in an immediate short-stack bind. Unless things went perfectly over the early going, most inexperienced players had little chance to escape the early levels by building a proper stack.
Every year, recreational players arrived in Sin City excited for their first WSOP event, only to find fewer chips to start than most nightly tourneys at their local casino. And after ponying up a grand to compete for a gold bracelet, many of these folks found themselves on the rail early thanks to a single misstep.
To help avoid unpleasant situations like that going forward and provide players with as much value as possible relative to their buy-in, the 2019 WSOP has increased starting stacks across the board.
As you can see in the table below, the move from 5,000 chips to 20,000 in a $1,000 event is emblematic of the major increases at every buy-in level.
WSOP Starting Stack Increases by Buy In
|Buy In||2018 Chips||2019 Chips|
In a press release issued to announce the starting stack swaps, Effel pointed out that responding to player input is how the WSOP stands out among crowded tournament circuits.
“It is important the modern day World Series of Poker continues to evolve.
People certainly like bigger starting stacks, and we’re happy to oblige while simultaneously adding more value.”
Low Buy-In Bracelet Events ($400 – $1,500)
Out of 80 total bracelet events on the docket, 46 tournaments at the 2019 WSOP are priced at $1,500 and under. And if you’re looking for the new wave of extra affordable sub-$1,000 buy-in events, you’ll find several low-cost events on the schedule.
And speaking of that schedule, check out the list below to find out dates, buy-in, and format for the 46 low buy-in tournaments at this year’s WSOP, many of which still remain. The new events are in bold text.
|May 29th – 30th||$500||Casino Employee’s NLHE Championship|
|May 30th – June 6th||$500||Big 50 NLHE ($5 million guaranteed prize pool)|
|May 30th – June 2nd||$1,500||Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better|
|June 3rd – 4th||$600||NLHE Deepstack|
|June 3rd – 5th||$1,500||Six-Handed Dealer’s Choice|
|June 4th||$1,000||NLHE Super Turbo Bounty ($300 bounty on each player)|
|June 4th – 8th||$1,500||No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw|
|June 5th – 7th||$1,500||H.O.R.S.E.|
|June 5th –7th||$1,500||NLHE Six-Handed|
|June 6th – 8th||$1,500||NLHE Shootout|
|June 7th – 11th||$1,500||NLHE Millionaire Maker ($1 million guaranteed to winner)|
|June 7th – 9th||$1,500||Seven Card Stud|
|June 9th – 10th||$1,000||NLHE Double Stack|
|June 9th – 12th||$1,500||Eight Game Mix|
|June 10th – 11th||$600||Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack|
|June 10th – 12th||$1,500||Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Eight or Better|
|June 11th – 13th||$1,000||NLHE|
|June 12th – 14th||$1,000||Pot Limit Omaha|
|June 13th – 15th||$1,000||NLHE Seniors (50 and older to play)|
|June 13th – 15th||$1,500||2-7 Lowball Triple Draw|
|June 14th – 18th||$1,000||NLHE Double Stack|
|June 16th – 18th||$800||NLHE Deepstack|
|June 17th – 19th||$1,000||NLHE Super Seniors (60 and older to play)|
|June 17th – 19th||$1,500||Pot Limit Omaha|
|June 18th – 19th||$600||Mixed NLHE / Pot Limit Omaha|
|June 19th – 21st||$1,500||NLHE Bounty ($500 bounty on all players)|
|June 20th – 22nd||$1,000||NLHE Ladies (Men pay $10,000 to enter)|
|June 21st – 25th||$1,500||NLHE Monster Stack|
|June 23rd – 24th||$800||NLHE Deepstack Eight-Handed|
|June 23rd – 26th||$1,500||Razz|
|June 24th||$1,500||NLHE Super Turbo Bounty ($500 bounty on all players)|
|June 24th – 26th||$1,000||NLHE Tag Team (2-4 players per team)|
|June 25th – 27th||$600||NLHE Deepstack Champ. (Main Event seat to winner)|
|June 25th – 27th||$1,500||Pot Limit Omaha Eight or Better|
|June 26th – 30th||$400||NLHE Colossus|
|June 27th – July 1st||$1,500||Omaha Mix|
|June 28th – July 3rd||$888||NLHE Crazy Eights ($888,888 guaranteed to winner)|
|June 29th – July 1st||$1,500||NLHE|
|July 1st – 2nd||$1,000||NLHE Mini Main Event|
|July 2nd – 4th||$500||NLHE Salute to Warriors (proceeds donated to charity)|
|July 6th – 12th||$1,111||NLHE Little One for One Drop|
|July 9th – 11th||$1,500||Pot Limit Omaha Bounty ($500 bounty on all players)|
|July 10th – 12th||$1,500||NLHE / Pot Limit Omaha Mix|
|July 10th – 13th||$1,500||NLHE Bracelet Winner’s Invitational|
|July 11th – 12th||$1,500||NLHE Double Stack|
|July 12th – 17th||$1,500||NLHE The Closer|
Technically speaking, the first event in the WSOP lineup was the $500 Casino Employees no limit Texas hold’em (NLHE) tournament. But seeing as how this one is only open to players who can prove they work within the casino industry, it’s basically an invitational.
Moving on to the actual open events available to everybody, you’ll see the first ever Big 50 tournament — a $500 buy-in affair which boasts a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and $1 million guaranteed to the winner — that was held starting on May 30th. Like all new additions to the WSOP lineup, the Big 50 is listed in bold above.
In a press release, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart hyped the Big 50 as the perfect way to kick off a 50th anniversary bash.
“We’re excited to commence our golden event.
We expect our opening weekend Big 50 event to be one of the largest in our history, and certainly, one of the best value tournaments ever offered.
This is part of our concerted plans to make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around.”
The idea of value tournaments is built directly into the 46-event schedule found above.
All of the latest and greatest WSOP innovations — including the Millionaire Maker with its $1 million guaranteed to the champion, the Seniors, the Ladies, and the Crazy Eights with an $888,888 guaranteed top prize — are back and better than ever.
Highlighting the new additions are various Deepstack tournaments which provide even larger starting stacks and extended structures — all while offering sub-$1,000 buy-ins.
Other tournaments making their debut are the $1,000 NLHE Mini Main Event, which mimics the real Main Event’s deep structure at a bargain, and the veteran’s charity-driven $500 buy-in NLHE Wounded Warriors event.
For folks trying to score a gold bracelet on the cheap, check out the upcoming $400 NLHE Colossus event — which set the all-time record for live tournament attendance in 2015 at 22,374 entries.
And if you happen to have a gold bracelet on your mantle already, you have an exclusive invite to join just over 1,000 other all-time WSOP winners in the $1,500 NLHE Bracelet Winner’s Invitational in July.
All things considered, over half of the 2019 WSOP schedule is geared towards recreational players who want to compete against the world’s greats without breaking the bank.
Medium Buy-In Bracelet Events ($2,500 – $5,000)
Filling out the meat and potatoes of the schedule are 14 medium-range buy-in events priced at between $2,500 and $5,000.
|June 1st – 3rd||$2,500||Limit Mixed Triple Draw|
|June 3rd – 6th||$5,000||NLHE|
|June 10th – 15th||$2,620||NLHE Marathon (26,200 starting stack + 100-minute levels)|
|June 12th – 15th||$3,000||NLHE Six-Handed|
|June 15th – 17th||$3,000||NLHE Shootout|
|June 18th – 21st||$2,500||Mixed Big Bet|
|June 20th – 23rd||$2,500||NLHE|
|June 21st – 23rd||$2,500||Omaha Hi-Lo Eight / Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight|
|July 1st – 4th||$5,000||NLHE Six-Handed|
|July 8th – 11th||$3,000||Limit holdem Six-Handed|
|July 9th – 11th||$3,000||NLHE|
|July 12th – 15th||$3,000||Pot Limit Omaha Six-Handed|
|July 14th – 16th||$3,000||H.O.R.S.E.|
|July 15th – 16th||$5,000||NLHE|
These tournaments can be accessed through satellite qualification if you’re a recreational player, while the pros will come armed with enough ammunition to buy directly in.
Either way, if you can afford to hop in any of the bracelet events listed above, you’ll be in for the ride of a lifetime.
When you read about top pros like Phil Ivey winning 10 bracelets during his storied career, he’s not wading through the minefield of small buy-in, large-field events. Out of Ivey’s 10 WSOP wins, six of them have come in tournaments priced between $2,500 and $5,000. And of Phil Hellmuth’s all-time leading 15 gold bracelets, 11 were earned at the medium buy-in level.
Suffice it to say, players who can secure a seat in these events have a high likelihood of facing off against poker legends when it’s all said and done.
You won’t find any newcomers to the schedule on this list, but the lineup is quite eclectic, nonetheless. Six of the 11 medium events offer non-NLHE gameplay, including creative variants like Limit Mixed Triple Draw, Mixed Big Bet, and H.O.R.S.E.
And even if you prefer NLHE, the medium tier is home to the $2,620 buy-in Marathon with its juiced-up starting stacks and 100-minute levels, and the single-table sit-and-go action of the $3,000 buy-in Shootout.
For players who haven’t quite built a bankroll big enough to splash around in $10,000 championship events but are thinking about moving on from the lowest rungs on the ladder, medium buy-in bracelet tournaments are the perfect happy medium. Most of these still remain in the 2019 WSOP, so you’ve still got plenty of chances to get in on the action.
High Buy-In Bracelet Events ($10,000 – $100,000)
WSOP competition is all about championships, though, and that’s why the best and brightest talents in poker call the high ($10,000 to $100,000) range home.
Of the 20 events in this upper echelon, all but four are priced at the WSOP’s historical $10,000 buy-in to crown each poker variant’s annual World Champion.
|May 29th – 30th||$10,000||NLHE Super Turbo Bounty|
|May 31st – June 3rd||$50,000||NLHE High Roller|
|June 2nd – 5th||$10,000||NLHE Short Deck|
|June 5th – 8th||$10,000||NLHE Heads-Up|
|June 6th – 9th||$10,000||Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better|
|June 8th – 11th||$10,000||No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw|
|June 11th – 14th||$10,000||H.O.R.S.E.|
|June 14th – 17th||$10,000||Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed|
|June 17th – 20th||$10,000||Seven Card Stud|
|June 19th – 22nd||$25,000||Pot Limit Omaha High Roller|
|June 20th – 23rd||$10,000||Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw|
|June 22nd – 25th||$10,000||Pot Limit Omaha Eight-Handed|
|June 24th – 28th||$50,000||Poker Player’s Championship (eight-game mix)|
|June 26th – 28th||$10,000||Razz|
|June 28th – July 1st||$10,000||Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better|
|June 30th – July 3rd||$10,000||Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Eight or Better|
|July 2nd – 4th||$10,000||Limit Hold’em|
|July 3rd – 16th||$10,000||NLHE Main Event World Championship|
|July 11th – 13th||$100,000||NLH Super High Roller|
|July 13th – 16th||$10,000||NLHE Six-Handed|
Thus, if you decide to play the $10,000 Limit Hold’em event, for example, you’ll be competing against two-time WSOP bracelet winner Scott Seiver to become World Champion in that particular game. Similarly, anybody who can weave their way through the one-on-one bracket to become $10,000 NLHE Heads-Up winner earns World Championship bragging rights until next summer.
Of course, the championship of championships has always been the $10,000 NLHE Main Event — the mother of all poker tournaments for five decades and counting. Chris Moneymaker took home the title in 2003, launching the “Poker Boom” in the process as an online qualifier and joining legends of the game like three-time champs Doyle Brunson and Stu Ungar as Main Event winners.
Last year, it was John Cynn capturing poker’s most coveted crown, defeating a 7,874-player field to earn $8.8 million.
The Main Event will always be the top tournament in town for poker fans and almost all players, but the elite pros today recognize that 7,000+ player fields present too steep of a hill to climb. As a result, the brightest stars of poker turn out for the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship, which uses an eight-game mix to crown the best all-around poker player on the planet.
And in the only new addition to the schedule at this buy-in level, fans of Short Deck Hold’em — which removes the 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s from the deck to create a more action-packed post-flop dynamic — had a $10,000 World Championship event on tap for the first time.
The WSOP has set the standard in poker tournament series for the last 50 years, and as the traditional 50th anniversary gift has always been gold, awarding a record-setting assortment of 80 bracelets this summer is only fitting. The beauty of this six-week poker extravaganza is its sheer diversity. Whether you play no limit Texas hold’em exclusively or prefer the mixed games and obscure offshoots, have a ton of dough or a tight bankroll — the WSOP has a bracelet event for you.
Although the 2019 World Series of Poker began over a week ago, that doesn’t mean you’re too late to get into the action. The schedule still boasts tons of events for every kind of player. Get out to the Rio to take your shot at poker immortality.