WSOP: Big issues discussed in countdown to 2012 series

With less than three weeks to the opening of the 2012 World Series of Poker, senior management held an hour-long conference call last night (local time) to discuss a range of issues, including WSOP APAC and its place in the organisation’s plans for the future.

It’s clear that the first WSOP at Crown Melbourne in April 2013 is the next step in plans to form poker’s equivalent of a Grand Slam, having already spread the brand to Europe as described by WSOP executive director Ty Stewart.

Joined by tournament director Jack Effel and communications director Seth Palansky, Stewart also said there will be a stream of every bracelet event on a 15-minute delay while the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop will air live.

Stewart is optimistic that the Big One for OneDrop will reach the 48-player cap, with close to 40 players already pre-registering.

Effel also outlined that the $50k Players Championship (which is not on the ESPN TV schedule) will be played as a H.O.R.S.E. tournament right through the final table – last year the event switched to No Limit Hold’em at the request of ESPN.

There have also been changes to the so-called “Jamie Gold” (pictured left) and “Hevad Khan” rules relating to talking about your hand and excessive celebrations.

Players will now be allowed to say anything about their hand that they want, provided the player who is talking cannot be capable of reopening the action and the player does not expose their hand to other players.

The change is an attempt to bring back the verbal strategy of the game, as well as to liven up the atmosphere, as Effel stated, “the poker room is not a church”.

The WSOP also announced an easing of the excessive celebration rule. Players will now be able to be a “bit more vocal” in celebrating victories, within reason. What precisely will be allowed and what will earn a player a penalty will be at the discretion of the WSOP staff.

Management also confirmed that more space has been added, with the 92-table Brasilia Room now joining the Pavilion and Amazon Room. In all there will be 420 tables dedicated to the WSOP, and more than 500 poker tables when the cash game tables and the Rio poker room are included.

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