Bigger? Better? Bounty? What Could Be Different in the 2022 WSOP Schedule?

2022 World Series of Poker Schedule

With 111 days to go until the 2022 World Series of Poker the poker world is eagerly awaiting the full release of the WSOP schedule.

When will the 2022 WSOP schedule be released? Sources say it could be sooner than you think, but while we sit and wait, PokerNews thought we could take a look at the things that could be different in this year’s schedule compared to in the past.

Of course, there are several differences we already know about. After months of rumours, the largest and most historic festival of poker is moving to the Strip this year, with Hollywood movie star Vince Vaughn the master of ceremonies.

Then came the news that Bally’s will be rebranded to the Horseshoe in time for the Series, conjuring up memories of the golden age of WSOP poker.

But back to the schedule. Here are some differences that we think may be on the cards for 2022.

Bigger Venue Means Bigger Fields

While last year’s World Series of Poker didn’t break any attendance records (the 2021 Main Event was only the tenth-biggest in history), there’s plenty of speculation that the move from the Rio to the Horseshoe and Paris could lead to bigger fields for this year’s Series.

For reference, the biggest tournament in WSOP hisotry — indeed in poker history — was the 2019 Big 50, won by Femi Fashakin for just over $1.1 million.

Femi FashakinFemi Fashakin Wins the Big 50

The new venues bring with them increased space for poker tables, and therefore the ability for the WSOP to host bigger and perhaps better tournaments. Could a return of the Big 50 be on the cards? Or have the WSOP set their sights even higher…

The Return of the $1m Big One For One Drop

How high might they set their sights? Well, how about the largest buy-in event in WSOP history – the $1,000,000 buy-in Big One For One Drop. The tournament was last held in 2018, with Justin Bonomo riding the wave of success that year to triumph. The first Big One for One Drop was held in 2012, and was followed two years later with a second.

The third was held in Monte-Carlo as part of the Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza, but it returned ahead of Bonomo’s triumph in 2018. With the 2020 WSOP not taking place, and the 2021 poker landscape perhaps too uncertain to hold a seven-figure buy-in tournament, all signs point to the WSOP bringing back the biggest buy-in of them all to christen the new venue.

WSOP Big One for One Drop

“Novelty” Old-School Horseshoe Tournaments

The Horseshoe is an old-school name. The birthplace of the WSOP back in the 1970 saw the greats of the game walk through their doors as the story of the WSOP wrote its first chapters. Now the fabled name of Horseshoe has returned, and we think that the WSOP might honor its heritage with a novelty old-school tournament or two.

Freezeout tournaments have long been part of the WSOP schedule, with the Main Event perhaps the most famous freezeout tournament of them all. In 2021, the WSOP introduced the Hall of Fame Bounty, won by Ole Schemion, which invited some of the biggest names to enter with bounties on their head.

Will the Hall of Fame Bounty return? Or will a new format tempt the WSOP organizers?

The First WSOP Mystery Bounty

There was talk of a mystery bounty taking place at the 2020 WSOP before its cancellation, but this is probably the prediction PokerNews is the most confident about. Poker fans have seen the success of the Mystery Bounty format at another Vegas location, with the Wynn holding not one but two Mystery Bounty tournaments in 2021 to rave reviews.

WSOP organizers will be excited at the thought of a repeat of the moment back in October 2021, when Omaha truck driver Donald Nimneh drew out a $250,000 bounty envelope.

A HUGE Welcome Event

The 2021 WSOP opening event was dubbed The Reunion and was won by Long Ma. There’s no talk of the Reunion returning, but a similar tournament with an equally memorable name is no doubt in the works.

Long MaLong Ma Wins 2021 The Reunion

The opening weekend of this year’s WSOP will be an exciting one, as more and more players feel comfortable returning to the felt after two or even three years away. WSOP organizers will no doubt be looking to make the opening weekend one to remember, and to get the Series off to a great start in its new home.

Four (or more!) Starting Flights of the Main Event

The 2021 WSOP Main Event saw four starting flights, with two more added after travel restrictions to the United States were eased. We’ve already spoken about the increased space that the WSOP will have to work with for 2022, and it will be interesting to see whether the WSOP sticks with the four originally scheduled for 2021, or even remains with six opportunities for players to enter the most famous poker tournament of them all.

Will Guarantees Make a Comeback?

WSOP tournaments and guarantees are a rare occurence. Away from Las Vegas, the WSOP Europe had €12 million in guarantees last year and the GGPoker WSOP Main Event in 2020 generated an eye-watering prize pool of $27.6 million, after initially guaranteeing a prize pool of €25 million.

But in Las Vegas, guarantees at the WSOP are few and far between. The 2021 WSOP had one (The Reunion) and the 2019 WSOP also had the single guarantee, with the $600 Deepstack Championship guaranteeing $500,000 and a WSOP Main Event seat to the winner.

Could we see the return of first prize guarantees to the WSOP, not seen since Martin Jacobson’s 2014 WSOP Main Event victory that netted him a cool $10,000,000.

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Will Shillibier

Executive Editor EU

Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester. He previously worked as a freelance live reporter, and video presenter for the World Poker Tour.

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