WSOP APAC returns to Australia in October 2014; WSOPE on hold until 2015

wsop-bracelet2There was some really big news coming out of the World Series of Poker today, as the WSOP announced a major change to its international tournament series, the WSOP Europe and WSOP APAC.

From here on out the two tournament series will rotate, with the WSOP Europe occurring during odd years and the WSOP APAC taking place during even years.

In a press release announcing the overhaul of the WSOP schedules, WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, stated:

“We are excited to return to Melbourne in 2014 for WSOP APAC and the beginning of a new era for our international championships.

“The WSOP standard is bigger, better and different. Moving to a rotational approach, with one international event per year allows for better organization and more marketing in each region. We also want to do right by the players, and provide more value for their travel dollar. There is a glut of poker tournaments around the world, and our vision is to each year put on a single global showcase that can’t be missed.”

Possible reasons behind the move #1: Attendance

The inaugural World Series of Poker Asia Pacific tournament series (thankfully shortened to WSOP APAC) had some memorable moments, including Daniel Negreanu’s Main Event victory. And the World Series of Poker Europe tournament series had the same. But the WSOP APAC and the WSOPE also had some lackluster attendance numbers, which is likely the key motive behind the WSOP’s decision to host the tournaments biannually from here on out.

Several tournaments produced what can only be called pathetic turnouts:

* Event #2 of the 2013 WSOP APAC, a $1,650 PLO tournament saw only 172 entrants

* Event #3 of the 2013 WSOP APAC, a $2,200 Mixed Games tournament attracted just 81 players

* Event #1 of the 2013 WSOPE, the €1,100 Ladies Championship attracted only 65 players

* Event #4 of the 2013 WSOPE, a €1,650 PLO tournament saw only 184 players register

* Event #5 of the 2013 WSOPE, a €2,200 NLHE tournament saw only 337 players register

* Event #6 of the 2013 WSOPE, a €3,250 Mixed-Max PLO tournament attracted just 127 runners

For a €2,200 NLHE tournament to only pull in 337 players is mind-boggling. A similar event in Las Vegas would be measured in the thousands.

Possible reason behind the move #2: Travel and POY

There has also some grumblings about the role these international tournament series play in the WSOP Player of the Year award, with many players pointing out how costly it is to travel the globe to play in World Series tournaments and compete for the POY award –accusing the award of being skewed towards the biggest names in the game and their very deep pockets.

This year the WSOP Player of the Year award was won by Daniel Negreanu, who earned most of his points in the smaller field tournaments in Australia and in France. While Negreanu did nothing wrong on his end –he abided by the rules as they were written– many players started to cry foul, and pleaded for the WSOP to change the POY format in future years.

While not as big a deal as the poor attendance numbers, cutting the international stops down from two to just one should allow more players to make the trip and compete in the WSOP tournaments held abroad.

WSOP APAC

The WSOP APAC will now be held in even numbered years, beginning in 2014. The tournament series will take place in October, around the time the World Series of Poker Europe would normally occur.

WSOP Europe

The next WSOP Europe tournament series will not occur until 2015, and while not stipulated, it will likely take place sometime in mid-October and feature about 10 “Bracelet” tournaments.

 

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