Last summer, PokerListings.com tore the roof off of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino with our blockbuster coverage of the 2006 World Series of Poker. And while most of you readers are still reeling from the epic force of our compelling live updates, scintillating photography, hard-hitting interviews, entertaining blogs, and, of course, our incredible video segments, it's time to come out from under the covers, maybe have a shower and a quick bite, and get ready for phase two of the madness. That's right - the 2007 WSOP is less than two months away.
Since Jamie Gold defeated Paul Wasicka in the early morning hours of August 10th, 2006, plenty has changed in the world of poker. PokerListings.com kicked off our authoritative and indispensable coverage of all of the world's best poker tournaments, from the World Series of Poker Circuit to the World Poker Tour and beyond.
A heretofore unknown little man named Bill Frist rocked our worlds with his underhanded manipulation of the machinations of the United States government's law-making process. Jamie Gold was vilified as a scoundrel, and then, maybe not so vilified. NETeller flew the coop, aided by Frist's minions in the War on Freedom. And a few weeks ago, World Series commissioner Jeffrey Pollack outlined the changes between the 2006 WSOP and its '07 iteration.
First and foremost, you'll notice that organizers have eschewed the dog days of July and August in favor of an earlier starting date, with the first two events kicking off on the first of June, and the official end of Jamie Gold's reign (or, perhaps, the beginning of his second year on the throne), occurring on the 17th of July.
As reporters who spent literally minutes slogging through the blast-furnace heat of the Las Vegas summer last year, we at PokerListings.com wholeheartedly applaud this move.
You'll also notice that the number of events has increased, from 45 last year to 55 this year. In reality, we're looking at about fifteen new events, because despite meeting the hearty approval of staffer Arthur Crowson, those six post-Main Event $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em "Consolation Tournaments" have been purged from the roster.
In their stead comes a parade of new events, including two lower buy-in H.O.R.S.E. events ($2,500/$5,000) to complement the $50,000 championship H.O.R.S.E. tournament that many felt provided the true test of ultimate poker skill at the WSOP. That tournament, which made a zombie out of PokerListings.com reporter Matthew Showell and a millionaire out of longtime pro Chip Reese, has been lengthened to a luxurious five days, which is good news to anyone who likes poker but likes sleep more.
The mixed games pop up elsewhere in the schedule as well, with the first event of the 2007 Series a $5,000 mixed Limit/No-Limit Hold'em tournament, and with a $2,500 Omaha 8OB/Seven Card Stud event on the docket two days later. All-told, a full 32 of the tournaments will be of the non-No-Limit Hold'em variety, although that still leaves 23 different slots for the current big dog of poker variants.
Fans and family of Billy Boyd will be relieved, however, to note that their boy will retain his title as undisputed champ of Five-Card Stud; that game remains off the books for 2007, meaning Boyd will remain the only man to ever win bracelets in a Five-Card Stud event, a feat he last accomplished only 33 years ago.
In any case, there will be plenty of bracelets to be won, but who, you might ask, will win them? Well, you will, for heaven's sake. With two months until game time, and more than three months until the Main Event, the time is right to get yourself online and grind out a seat in the big show.
Check out our poker room reviews for the best sites to get yourself a patch of felt at the Rio for cheap, and plan on making the summer of 2007 the year you add your name to the pantheon of greats, including men like Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, who made millions out of tiny investments.
The 2006 World Series was noteworthy for providing Phil Hellmuth with his 10th WSOP bracelet, and for spawning new heroes like Jeff Madsen, Bill Chen, and Paul "Tashi" Kobel - and the most legendary of them all, "Big" Larry and Brian, the realest dynamic duo this side of Denver.
You can rest assured that when the curtain rises on the 2007 WSOP, PokerListings.com will not sleep in our pursuit to break the biggest stories first and with our trademark wit and aplomb, whether Hellmuth or Gold or Big Larry himself. Game does recognize game, after all, so tune into PokerListings.com immediately and avoid the rush! You can get your 2007 WSOP coverage starting June 1st, but your excitement starts now.