World Series alters payout schedule

May 29, 2007 1:26 AM

This is the week every serious poker player has been waiting for — the start of the 2007 World Series of Poker, which is being held at the Rio in Las Vegas.

The WSOP really has become the premier poker event of the year, and since it continues for nearly two months, there’s plenty of poker for all kinds of players.

Since Harrah’s has taken control of the World Series, they’ve endeavored to improve the action every year, and 2007 is no exception. Congratulations to the folks running the operation, notably Howard Greenbaum, Jeffrey Pollack and Jack Effel.

It will be interesting to see what happens this year with the changes in online poker. In the past, Internet poker rooms would give away many seats into the championship event (sometimes half the total field!), but this year, no third-party registrations from online poker rooms will be allowed.

Instead, poker rooms will pay the $10,000 entry fee directly to their satellite or sit-and-go winners, and leave it up to the player to make arrangements to play in the WSOP.

Whether that happens to a great degree remains to be seen. I’ve already talked to some online players who have said they will take the $10,000 and spread it among several smaller events, rather than enter the main event.

No matter what event they play in, there are some changes this year in how the prize pools are disbursed.

Most players who finish in the money in 2007 World Series of Poker events will receive a higher percentage of the prize pools than last year, WSOP officials said last week.

"We are increasing the return to players who, after hours or days of grueling competition, are able to reach the money," said Howard Greenbaum, regional vice president of specialty gaming for Harrah’s Entertainment. "Our goal is to keep more money circulating among more people in the poker community."

While the final payout schedule for each event depends on the final number of entrants, a comparison of the actual payouts for the 2006 championship event ($10,000 buy-in) with what they would have been under the new payout schedule illustrates the differences.

Overall, 846 players last year would have won substantially more money — in some case, more than double — what they collected in 2006. The top 27 players would have received less, however.

For example, the 2006 main event would have paid $22,266 for 873rd through 775th places, up from $14,605 or $15,512. Places 82 through 73 would have paid $126,173, up from $66,010. First place would have paid $10,028,715, down from $12 million, while second place would have been worth $5,442,769, compared with $6,105,900.

"We discussed this concept with our poker operations team and with members of the WSOP Players Advisory Council and the consensus was that spreading the wealth is the right thing to do," said Greenbaum. "The new schedules are designed to increase the rewards to players who finish in the money but don’t reach the final table."

Ladies only camp

This year’s World Series also marks a first for female players, the first every poker camp exclusively for women.

The two-day WSOP Academy Ladies Event, set for June 8-9, at Caesars Palace, will feature world-class instruction by World Series of Poker bracelet winner Annie Duke, former FBI agent Joe Navarro — an expert on reading tells — and distinguished poker instructor Alex "The Insider" Outhred.

"From friendly home games to casino card rooms to the biggest poker tournaments, more women are playing poker than ever before, and now there is a poker camp just for them," said Jeff Goldenberg, whose company Post Oak Productions produces the WSOP Academy. "Our ladies-only academy will offer a fun yet highly informative environment where players can learn first-hand from the best minds in poker and gain the confidence and skills they need to be a threat at the table."

Poker pro Annie Duke is a solid choice to help school the femme fatales.

"This first-of-its-kind camp will also feature a unique curriculum guided by Annie Duke, arguably the best woman poker player in the world, and a new seminar from poker tells expert Joe Navarro that focuses on female-specific non-verbal behavior," Goldenberg added.

More than a comprehensive poker camp though, the WSOP Academy Ladies Event will also provide a chance for ten women poker players to go straight from being a camp participant to possibly a World Champion bracelet holder.

At the end of the camp session, a tournament will be held with the top ten finishers awarded seats to the $1,000 buy-in World Championship Ladies No-Limit Hold’Em tournament immediately following the event.

aggression and changing gears. Focusing on more than just tournament play, participants will also receive instruction on the intricacies of playing cash games, Internet poker and Sit-n-Go’s.

Get details for the World Series of Poker Academy Ladies Event at www.wsopacademy.com.