The World Series of Poker’s inaugural “Colossus” tournament has, as expected, smashed all the records to become the biggest live poker tournament ever staged.
Twenty-two thousand three hundred and seventy-four players turned out over the course of four Day 1 flights to play in the event, beating the previous WSOP record, the 2006 Main Event, by (calculator out) 13,601 players.
The event represents a strategic departure for the WSOP and Caesars as the festival now has the additional aim of boosting the numbers at WSOP.com.
Thus, this year’s Series is fully geared to attract the “right” sort of player, and lots of them: the kind of player who might be attracted to multi-table a few cash games or tournaments with low to mid-level buy-ins while they’re in town.
The Colossus is a case in point.
With its affordable buy-in of $565, and tantalizing $5 million guaranteed prize pool, it was designed to paper the house with players.
The WSOP is peppered with large-field, low buy-in events this year, and even includes an online bracelet tournament.
Mobiles at the Table
For the first time, players will be permitted to bring their mobile devices to the tables to play online during WSOP events.
Caesars convinced the Nevada Gaming Control Board to waive its one-player-per-IP-address rule, meaning that the Rio and all other Caesars properties will be whitelisted and exempted from the rule throughout the duration of the Series.
Last year, WSOP.com cash game traffic rose 24 percent in the first week of the Series alone, which means it’s likely to be even higher this year. Industry number-cruncher, PokerScout.com has conservatively suggested that the spike will be at least 50 percent.
Not all the players were happy with the payout structure of the Colossus, however, and many eyebrows were raised by the announcement of the first-place prize of $638,880, which represents just under six percent of the prize pool, considerably smaller than the average tournament.
“Democratic” Payout Structure
But this was part of the plan; a flat payout structure that could reward as many players as possible, with 2,241, or around ten percent of the field, making the money.
Top heavy payout structures are the norm, and in general that is designed to reward the skillful player with an edge on the field. This was poker with a far more “democratic” distribution of wealth in mind, designed to keep the mid-level player happy.
“When you see a crowd that could fill many sports venues, there’s not much else you can say,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said in a statement. “We want to thank everyone who traveled from near and far to be part of this historic event, particularly the first timers.
Just like the sign says, ‘We Hope You Come Back Soon.’ We love to bring poker enthusiasts together and help build positive momentum for the game.”