Photo by Jayne Furman.
It may only be January, but it’s not too early to get excited for the 2016 World Series of Poker, which returns to Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from May 31 to July 18. This year’s edition of the world’s longest-running poker tournament (now in its 47th year) is poised to be the biggest—and most lucrative—yet, with more events, bigger prizes, and the second edition of the massively successful Colossus live poker event.
In 2015, the Colossus tournament drew a record 22,374 participants, with a first-place prize of $638,880, and in 2016, Colossus II (which begins June 2) is poised to be an even bigger success, with the overall prize pool increased to $7 million, including a guaranteed $1 million first-place prize.
“There wasn’t a staffer last year who thought 22,374 was reachable,” said WSOP spokesperson Seth Palanksy. “It was just so above and beyond the previous record of 8,776 entrants. We’ve made several tweaks for Colossus II, including putting it on our opening weekend, and we do anticipate it being the biggest event we offer this summer in terms of entrants.”
The 2016 series is slated to include the return of such popular events as Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, Little One for ONE DROP, Seniors Event and Ladies Championship. In all, 68 official gold bracelet events will be offered across the 50 days of the World Series, with buy-ins starting as low as $565 (for Colossus II).
“We have finally figured out that the World Series of Poker is for everyone—all ages [over 21], all countries, and all level of players,” Palanksy said. “By creating a schedule of events that includes 68 distinct tournaments and pricing the entry fees from as low as $565 to as high as $75,000, we really do have something for everyone this year.”
In a recent virtual town hall held at Twitch.tv, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel and Executive Director Ty Stewart discussed with a live audience of about 250 the planned and potential improvements to the 2016 tournament, including earlier start times, shortened level breaks and removal of redundant levels. Feedback was solicited on everything from optimum pay field percentages and quality of playing cards to enhanced will call and expanding the number of starting flights for Colossus II.
“We needed to be able to make sure it’s a much better experience,” said Stewart during the town hall. “We want to have as many players as possible come to WSOP, especially new and recreational players.”
The full 2016 World Series of Poker schedule can be found at the WSOP website, where poker enthusiasts can also sign-up to play live poker online for real money if located in New Jersey or Nevada.