The poker world is currently abuzz since the 2012 WSOP has officially kicked off with players taking the felt for Event #1 and Event #2. And we have already seen one very interesting story in the opening days since Phil Ivey was spotted in Event #2. If you’ll remember, he allegedly boycotted the 2011 WSOP because of how the now-defunct Full Tilt Poker handled player deposits after Black Friday. Seeing as how Ivey’s returned to the 2012 WSOP, it’ll be interesting to see if he can add to his eight gold bracelets.
Of course, Phil Ivey’s return isn’t the only interesting thing happening at this year’s World Series of Poker since there are a number of other stories that have people’s attention. That said, here’s a quick look at some of the biggest stories to look for over the next month and a half.
Big One for One Drop; WSOP
Much of the pre-WSOP talk has been dominated by the “Big One for One Drop,” which is a $1 million buy-in event that’s already guaranteed to set a couple of major records. First off, the buy-in itself is a record since no poker tournament in history has every charged this much. Secondly, the 34 confirmed participants (at this point) have pushed the guaranteed top prize over $13 million. Once the winner is confirmed, they’ll have broken 2006 WSOP champ Jamie Gold’s record for the largest single tournament prize ($12 million).
Phil Hellmuth chasing Bracelet Number 12
This has been a big storyline heading into every WSOP for the past several years because Hellmuth hasn’t won a gold bracelet since 2007. However, last year saw the “Poker Brat” experience somewhat of a career rejuvenation after finishing second place in three different tournaments. Seeing as how Hellmuth already holds the all-time lead with 11 bracelets won, people will be very interested to see if he can extend this record.
Viktor “Isildur1” Blom in First WSOP
Blom is one of those rare poker players who became a legend before his 21st birthday. The Swede has carved out a name for himself by winning millions of dollars through high stakes online poker games. Now that Blom is 21, we’ll finally get to see him play in his first WSOP. He’s already warmed up to the concept of tournament success by winning the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100k Super High Roller, so we’ll see how well this translates into WSOP success.
Another Final Table Change at the WSOP
The past four years have seen the WSOP Main Event final table delayed from the middle of July (when it’s formed), to the beginning of November. The idea is to build excitement and media coverage leading up to the last nine players battling for Main Event glory. However, 2012 will see a change since the final table is only delayed until late October; this is done to avoid going up against the US Presidential Election in early November.
More WSOP Tournaments and Formats
One more big story worth mentioning involves the introduction of extra bracelet events and formats. First off, the number of bracelet events has been expanded from 58 in the previous year, to 61 this year. There are also some new styles of tournaments taking place including a four-handed event, a mixed-max tourney, an ante-only tournament, and a re-entry event.