102 total bracelet events
The 2022 World Series of Poker is underway, the first WSOP to be played under what one would consider “normal” conditions since 2019. Except for a last-minute hybrid online/live Main Event, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the 2020 WSOP and last year’s was delayed to the fall and had lower attendance because of pandemic-related international travel restrictions.
The first two events – $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em and $100,000 High Roller Bounty No-Limit Hold’em – started on Tuesday. The former will conclude today while the latter will finish up tomorrow. Two more tournaments begin today: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em freezeout and $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed.
All told, there are 88 live gold bracelet events this year, plus 14 online bracelet events. All but one of the online events is for players in New Jersey and Nevada only, while one is exclusive to Pennsylvania players on WSOP.com. If Michigan begins its liquidity sharing with New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware soon, players from the Wolverine State could potentially join in the fun.
The $10,000 Main Event will begin with the first of four starting flights on July 3 and continue through July 16 with a one-day break on July 14, the day before the nine-handed final table begins.
WSOP on the Strip
And for the first time, the Series is on the Las Vegas Strip, being held at both Paris and Bally’s Las Vegas after nearly two decades at the Rio. For its first three and a half decades, it was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. But the poker boom caused attendance numbers to surge, so Harrah’s Entertainment, which acquired the rights to the WSOP in 2004, moved the Series to the Rio in 2005. The final three tables of the Main Event were still at Binion’s that year, but it was at the Rio in its entirety starting in 2006.
Rio was showing its age and it was off the Strip
There had been rumors for several years that Caesars Entertainment (Harrah’s became Caesars in 2010) wanted to move the World Series of Poker. The Rio was showing its age and it was off the Strip, which isn’t the most convenient place to get to unless you have a car (though parking is much easier there).
When Caesars sold the Rio in 2019, the writing was on the wall, even though the WSOP stayed at the location while Caesars continued to operate the property. With its operating agreement extending to the end of next year at most, it was obvious the WSOP would move and sure enough, in November 2021, Paris and Bally’s were announced as the new, joint venues.
How to watch the 2022 WSOP
Poker fans who want to follow the 2022 World Series of Poker action as closely as possible can watch live streams of tournaments on PokerGO.com. PokerGO’s live streaming schedule begins on Thursday, June 2, with the final table of the $100,000 High Roller Bounty event.
PokerGO is providing much more coverage, and all of it is live
All told, PokerGO will provide live streaming coverage of 21 events, including the Main Event on July 15 and July 16. That’s the good news. The bad news is that PokerGO is a paid subscription service, so it is not free like the WSOP broadcast used to be on television. But then again, PokerGO is providing much more coverage, and all of it is live. The service costs $14.99 per month, $29.99 for three months, or $99.99 for a full year.
As for television, there is uncertainty as to if and when WSOP episodes might air on the traditional broadcast medium. Last year, the World Series of Poker ended its 34-year relationship with ESPN, announcing it had signed a multi-year agreement with the CBS Sports Network. The CBS Sports Network did air 51 hours of pre-packaged WSOP episodes in 2021, but there has been no schedule announcement for 2022.