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A Historical Look At The World Series of Poker Schedule

World Series of Hold'em?


World Series of Poker? More like the World Series of Hold’em, am I right?

It’s one of the most commonly heard jokes every year when the summer series schedule is announced. But is it the truth? Card Player took a look at the complete WSOP schedule for every year since the Series’ inception in 1970 and found that while hold’em remains the flagship poker game of the festival, the other games have more or less stayed consistent.

This year, a total of 65 events are scheduled, 39 of which feature hold’em in some form or another. That’s 60 percent of the events, which may seem like a lot, but it’s a far cry from the peak of hold’em madness in 2006. That series had 45 total events, 34 of which were hold’em for a whopping 75.6 percent. In fact, the 2014 schedule has one of the lowest proportion of hold’em events in the last 10 years, tying with 2007 and falling just short of 2009.

It’s easy to see why hold’em is the most frequent event scheduled each summer. In addition to being the easiest game for players to learn, it’s also one of the biggest money makers for Caesars Entertainment. For example, take a look at the 2013 $1,500 buy-in Millionaire Maker event, which attracted 6,343 entrants and awarded $1,198,780 to Benny Chen. That event alone saw $951,450 in rake collected. The $10,000 buy-in main event generated $3,811,200 in rake and fees for the house.

But while hold’em may put dealers in the box, staff on the floor and keep the lights on in the Rio convention center, the WSOP hasn’t exactly shied away from the niche non-hold’em events either. There will be four lowball events in 2014, the most in the history of the series. There will be seven mixed-game events, tied for the most all-time with 2012. Although Omaha and stud variations have taken a small hit since the 80s and 90s, when they made up over one-third of all events, there will still be 15 such games, more than last year’s 12 contests. In fact, some would argue that Omaha is at the peak of its popularity. The game didn’t even make its WSOP debut until 1983 and the nine events offered in 2014 are the fourth most in history.

The most noticeable change in the schedule is the number of big buy-in events that are being offered. Until 2008, no series ever had more than three tournaments with a buy-in of $10,000 or more. That year, the number tripled to nine. In 2014, there will be 16 events on the schedule with buy-ins that large, representing 24.6 percent of the schedule. ´