The 2015 World Series of Poker schedule has been announced, and if the popularity of the Millionaire Maker event is any indication, this year’s newest addition is going to be a smash success. It’s called The Colossus, featuring a guaranteed $5 million in prizes – for a buy in of just $565. That’s the smallest buy in for any open WSOP event in 35 years.
Don’t expect any overlay in this one. The Las Vegas Sun reports that over 13,000 participants are expected for this two day no-limit Hold’em tournament, kicking off this year’s WSOP festivities at the Rio on May 29 and finishing the following day. If so, that would bring in a prize pool of around $6.5 million, well above the $5 million in guaranteed prizes. This is a re-entry event, as well, so that total should climb even higher.
Aside from the relatively affordable buy in, the format of The Colossus should appeal to a wide range of poker enthusiasts. Each player will receive a starting stack of 5,000 chips, with the blinds for the first level set at 25/50 and no antes. That works out to the familiar starting stack of 100 big blinds for most NLHE poker games.
Once all is said and done, The Colossus should easily become the largest live poker tournament ever held. The current record of 8,773 players is held by the 2006 WSOP Main Event, won by Jamie Gold. Organizers clearly saw the potential for bigger things when they introduced the Millionaire Maker tournament in 2013. That $1,500 buy in event brought in 6,343 entrants, ballooning to 7,977 players in 2014.
Things got even busier last year when WSOP officials added the $1,500 Monster Stack tournament to the calendar. Another 7,862 players took place in this event, generating a top prize of over $1.3 million. Both the Monster Stack and the Millionaire Maker are back on the schedule for 2015, along with the popular $1,111 Little One for One Drop. But even those tournaments should fall way short of the massive field expected for The Colossus.
The early buzz among higher-stakes poker players has been mostly positive toward The Colossus, and the lower buy in tournaments in general. These events go a long way toward growing the sport of poker and introducing new players into the marketplace. If there’s a drawback, it’s the status of the famous WSOP gold bracelet awarded to the winners. Some players are concerned that “amateurs” are taking home these coveted trophies. But that’s been a complaint ever since Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 Main Event in his first live poker tournament.
There’s also some concern that The Colossus could fall short of its ambitious targets because it’s been scheduled for the start of the WSOP. International players usually prefer to show up closer to the Main Event in order to save money. However, if at least 8,850 people (including re-entries) show up, organizers will meet their $5 million guarantee and break the world record. It seems as likely as KK beating K2o.
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