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Why the WSOP created a less expensive $300 buy-in event

The World Series of Poker has held many tournaments with what it considered to be inexpensive buy-ins.

But no matter how low the price went, some players still couldn’t afford to enter.

In response, WSOP officials created the “Gladiators of Poker” No-limit Hold’em event, which begins Wednesday and is projected to see a massive field at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas. The $300 buy-in is the lowest price point ever offered for an open bracelet event.

“Taking it down just a little bit lower may open up the opportunity for some folks to come and try a World Series of Poker event that never had an opportunity to do so otherwise because the buy-in was out of reach to them,” WSOP vice president Jack Effel said. “We want to give everyone an opportunity to play.”

The WSOP introduced the $565 buy-in “Colossus” No-Limit Hold’em tournament in 2015, which was the lowest entry fee for an open event in almost four decades. The first Colossus attracted 22,374 entries, which was the largest field in history for a live event until 2019.

The lowest buy-in open event was “The Giant” No-limit Hold’em tournament in 2019 with a $365 buy-in. That tournament had 10,015 runners and was won by local recreational player Dieter Dechant.

The “Big 50” No-limit Hold’em event in 2019 is the largest field in history with 28,371 entries and had a $500 buy-in to go with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and $1 million guaranteed prize to the winner.

The “Gladiators of Poker” has a $3 million guaranteed prize pool, which should entice thousands of players to enter. There are four starting flights with the final table scheduled for Monday.

“I think it’s going to get over 20,000 (entries),” Effel said. “This is like the Disneyland of poker to a certain degree. And when you’re at Disneyland, you want to ride all the rides. This is kind of a ride for everyone that we hope everyone is going to want to participate in and have fun.”

Week 1 highlights

— Chad Eveslage earned his second bracelet in less than a week early Tuesday when he won the $10,000 buy-in Dealers Choice Six-Handed Championship for $311,428, defeating poker pro Dutch Boyd heads-up. Eveslage took down the $1,500 buy-in Dealer’s Choice Six-Handed tournament on Friday ($131,879).

— The $1,000 buy-in Mystery Millions No-limit Hold’em bounty event drew 18,188 entries, making it the fifth largest event in live poker history. Tyler Brown won the $1 million first prize, making a courageous call with ace high during heads-up play to position himself for the victory. Also, Shant Marashlian and Patrick Liang each pulled $1 million bounty prizes.

— Nick Schulman earned his fourth career WSOP bracelet by winning the $1,500 buy-in Seven-card Stud event Monday. The professional poker player and broadcast analyst defeated Andrew Hasdal after a prolonged heads-up battle for the $110,800 first prize.

— Poker influencer Doug Polk finished second in the $25,000 buy-in Heads-up No-limit Hold’em Championship. Chanracy Khun denied Polk, a heads-up specialist, his fourth career bracelet.

— With 3,200 entries, the $600 buy-in Pot-limit Omaha Deepstack set the record for largest PLO event ever.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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