New Las Vegas Home Means Bigger, Better World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker, which starts on Tuesday and runs through July 19, is stepping onto Las Vegas’s main stage, otherwise known as Center Strip.
In the process, the theme for the 53rd WSOP has become size – as in bigger is expected to be better with the world’s most famous poker festival moving to a new home after a 16-year stay at the Rio All-Suites Resort & Casino, located about a mile west of the Strip.
This year’s WSOP at the Bally’s-Paris casino-resort complex will include about 90 events.
The storied WSOP Main Event will start July 3, has four starting days, and is scheduled to continue for two weeks.
Bally’s-Paris Complex Hosting WSOP
With the event being moved to the Bally’s-Paris complex – the Caesars Entertainment-owned resorts are connected internally -- plans have been made for nearly 600 poker tables distributed throughout about 200,000 square feet and three large playing rooms.
“This year is about more, more, more,” Jason Gregorec, senior vice president and general manager of Bally’s/Paris, said Thursday during a preview press conference.
And not just more poker tables being manned by more dealers (more than 1,000) and supported by more staff, but also more on-site hotel rooms in the two-casino complex, and more immediately available dining options. There also will be more accommodations for spectator poker viewing, and more prominent “feature tables” for when players come down to the wire in their events.
“Today’s WSOP is the melting pot of poker,” World Series of Poker executive director Ty Stewart said. “It’s everyone who enjoys this game or wants to experience this game – any bankroll – you’re welcome here. And what’s exciting, today, we’re finally really ready for you.”
New Record For Most Main Event Players?
After years of ducking the question of how many players he anticipated to play in the Main Event, Stewart went out on a limb. Fairly or not, Main Event attendance has become a measure of the tournament’s overall success, and even of poker’s broader popularity.
The Main Event record is 8,773 players in 2006 when Jamie Gold was the winner.
“I will be on record on taking the over on 8,774,” Stewart said. “There’s no reason for us not to break the all-time Main Event record. I expect we will do it.”
Features at 2022 WSOP
Some highlights for anyone considering taking a shot at a WSOP bracelet:
- There will be three main playing rooms. The largest will be the Paris Ballroom 300 tables, where most of the Day 1s for many events will be played. The others are Bally’s Grand Ballroom (labeled Platinum) with 187 tables, and the Bally’s Event Center, 87 tables, where final tables will be played.
- Parking features 8,000 spaces with about half of them in the Paris garage and the rest in Bally’s surface parking lot. Dining choices will range from the casual such as Bobby’s Burgers (Bobby Flay) to the ritzy Gordon Ramsay’s Steak, and choices such as pizza, deli and coffee shops in between.
- While the parking fees are $18 (weekday) and $23 (weekend), holders of the Caesars Rewards Visa credit card get free parking. Players can apply from home or on-site. There’s no annual fee. Also, Caesars Rewards members, Platinum and higher, get free parking.
- The administrative nerve center for players will be the Champagne Ballroom in Paris, site of the cashier cages. Players register there, and establish and load their accounts. That’s also where players who have won seats on WSOP.com will go to verify their seats. Once players establish accounts, it’s more convenient to use kiosks around the property to register for tournaments.
Range of WSOP Buy-In Levels
Among the WSOP’s many events, just a couple that will draw attention are the Housewarming on June 2, with just a $500 buy-in (re-entry available), but a $5 million guaranteed prize pool, and a Million Dollar Bounty (July 2), $1,000 buy-in, that has the twist that when a player knocks out an opponent, the bounty winner receives a mystery envelope that could be a prize from $1,000 to a $1 million.
Illustrating the range of WSOP bracelet events is that 28 tournaments (including some online poker events) will be at $10,000 buy-ins and above. By contrast, 18 events will be under $1,000.
While this year’s WSOP is placed at Bally’s-Paris, the identity of Bally’s is undergoing a transformation and over the coming months it will be transitioned to a Horseshoe casino. The World Series of Poker started at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas.
These days, Caesars Entertainment owns the Horseshoe brand. That trademark name will be more prominent as the changeover rolls out and Horseshoe Las Vegas becomes the defining nameplate for the current Bally’s. By next summer, the newly-named Horseshoe will feature a new permanent WSOP poker room.
A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.