- Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com
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On Jan. 24, the World Series of Poker announced the biggest WSOP schedule since its inception with 58 events to take place from May 31 until July 19, 2011. The chance to win one of the coveted 58 bracelets up for grabs will bring players from around the world to Las Vegas and the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino for the largest poker festival of the year.
"Something for everyone is the best way to describe the 2011 World Series of Poker schedule," said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel. "It's staggering to think that last year alone the WSOP hosted nine of the 17 largest tournaments in poker history. We had 44 events produce more than a $1 million prize pool, so we can't wait to get at it again and offer players at all levels the best poker action on the planet."
The 42nd annual WSOP will kick off with its customary $500 Casino Employees event at noon on May 31, but all eyes will be focused on the second event of the day, the newly created $25,000 heads-up event. With a capacity of 256 players, this will be the most expensive heads-up event in WSOP history and will feature the elite of the game. Also new to the schedule this year is Event 29, the $2,500 10-game mix, six-handed event and the $5,000 pot-limit Omaha six-handed event. The most notable removal from the 2011 schedule is the $25,000 six-handed event, which was well-received with a solid turnout of 191 players in 2010.
The $50,000 Poker Players' Championship will continue to be the most expensive and most prestigious event on the schedule and will take place just days before the main event.
One of the primary objectives of the WSOP staff throughout the planning process was to address the comfort of players, and to alleviate some of those concerns, the WSOP staff has implemented a 10-level rule which dictates that during bracelet events (except the main event), no more than 10 levels will be played. For the events starting at noon, play will conclude at approximately 12:45 a.m. the next day and for the 5 p.m. starts, play will end at 2 a.m. Players who successfully advance to the next day of play will return at 2:30 p.m. for the noon events and 3 p.m. for the 5 p.m. events. By creating these hard stop times, it will ensure that players are able to get enough rest prior to the next day of competition.
With the success of the $1,000 events the past two years, the WSOP has continued that trend with a little twist. Last year the WSOP offered its $1,000 events with two starting days on Saturday and Sunday. This year, with the WSOP's theme of "Weekend Warriors," there will be a $1,500 event each Saturday in June and a $1,000 event every Sunday. The only exceptions will be on June 4-5 and July 2-3, when two starting days will be offered for the $1,000 events.
The biggest live poker tournament of the year, the $10,000 main event, will take place beginning on July 7. There will be four starting days for this event. After Days 2A and 2B there will be a day off and then players will play six more days until the final table, the November Nine, is reached on Tuesday, July 19. The final nine players will return to Las Vegas and compete for the bracelet on Nov. 5-7. The final table will be broadcast on ESPN on Nov. 8.
Pre-registration is now open for all events at WSOP.com.
Below is the complete schedule for the 2011 WSOP. Televised events will be announced shortly and will be broadcast on ESPN starting in late July 2011.
2011 World Series of Poker Schedule
The 2011 WSOP schedule features 58 events from May 31 to July 19 and includes a new $25,000 heads-up championship event.