This is the second year of the WSOP's $888 buy-in Crazy Eights event and long-time poker player Terrence Chan says it provides a unique experience for recreational players.
It was introduced in 2016 in connection with the WSOP's main sponsor, 888poker.
The event is eight-handed, has four starting flights and last year awarded $888,888 to the winner, a Vietnamese-American small business owner from Ohio named Hung Le.
The Crazy Eights is a huge tournament, even by WSOP standards. It's also the second-lowest buy-in live bracelet event available at the World Series of Poker.
In its first run last year it got 6,671 entries and had a prize pool of over $5.4 million.
888 Crazy Eights: Good Atmosphere, Great Value
But according to Chan the size of the field isn't the only reason it's a special tournament.
“It's one of my favorite No-Limit tournaments at the WSOP,” he said. “I particularly like it because it's eight-handed. It's a lot of fun.
Chan's table in the Crazy Eights event.
"People are playing fast, it's full of recreational players. It's really friendly."
At the table next to Chan three players got all-in and they were all on their feet cheering as the board came out.
The player who busted was all smiles and quickly came around the table to congratulate and shake his opponent's hand.
And compared to other big-field, low buy-in events at the WSOP the Crazy Eights has 30 minute levels instead of 60 which means recreational players don't have to take as much time off work or out of their lives to come play.
“I don't enjoy the Colossus and the Millionaire Maker quite as much. This is a fast structure, you're in the money on Day 1,” said Chan.
“I think it ticks all the boxes for recreational players.”
Accessible Way to WSOP Experience
As the second flight began, the tournament registration area was still packed with people buying in. Sean Henderson is from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has been coming to Vegas for the last 20 years. This is the first time he's ever played a WSOP event.
Alfonso and Jorge, two Crazy Eights players from Spain.
“In 2007 I won a Main Event seat but didn't play and then when Black Friday hit I slowed down a lot,” said Henderson.
“I've come to Vegas a lot to play poker but this is the first year I've based my whole trip around getting into the World Series of Poker.”
Henderson said the addition of more big-field, low buy-in events convinced him to play. His plan is to play cheaper events like the Crazy Eights to try to win enough money to play in the Main Event.
"Playing in the Main Event is a life-long dream for any poker player,” he said.
Alfonso and Jorge are two semi-professional poker players from Spain, and were also in line buying into the Crazy Eights.
"We'd like to call ourselves professionals but we've only been playing online for about one year so kind of professionals," said Jorge.
The two were staked to come play at the WSOP and have been playing all the No-Limit events with buy-ins up to $3,000. With most of their experience online, both are familiar with big fields.
"I like big field tournaments if I run good but if not, I prefer small fields," Jorge joked. A winner in the 2017 WSOP Crazy Eights event will be decided on July 4th.