Players heading to the World Series of Poker have perhaps the widest selection of games and tournaments in the world at their disposal, but there has always been one that stood above the rest: the Main Event. The $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament — the one poker event that consistently garners mainstream attention — is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the tournament poker world.
However, last year, the WSOP rolled out a brand new, ultra-ambitious event that rivaled the Main Event in terms of buzz within the poker community. Casual players from my local home game, some of whom rarely play tournaments, booked trips to Las Vegas to take their shots in the Colossus. Some eager investors, looking to get as many horses into the race as possible, told me they were rounding up old poker contacts — some of whom hadn’t played regularly in years — and asking if they’d be interested in being staked to play.
When the time finally came, the Colossus was a smashing success, as the PokerNews staff predicted.
The $565 NLHE tournament — the smallest buy-in ever for an open WSOP event — drew an unprecedented 22,374 entries. That was by far and away the biggest live poker tournament ever held, surpassing the old record of 13,178. When the dust had settled, longtime WSOP Circuit grinder Cord Garcia had topped the massive field and claimed $638,880 in prize money.
As big and amazing as last year’s Colossus was, this year’s has the potential to be even better.
First, start with the prize pool. Last year’s Colossus carried a guaranteed prize pool of $5 million, which was more than doubled at $11,187,000. This year’s version of the event has been bumped to a $7 million guarantee, with six starting flights — two more than in 2015. A bigger prize pool could well be in the offing, especially with a new $1 million guarantee attached to first place, likely a response to player outrage after Garcia won less than 10 percent of the prize pool in 2015.
Cord Garcia topped a field of 22,374 to win last year’s "Colossus"
Note that once again, players are allowed to reenter subsequent flights should they bust out, with no reentry allowed in the same flight. This means you’ll want to bring multiple bullets if possible to maximize your chances of making a deep run and allow yourself to avoid playing too tightly.
The prize pool won’t be the only possible improvement this year.
Any time there’s a massive event of any sort, poker or otherwise, you can usually expect some logistical challenges to crop up for organizers. Consider the immense challenge of trying to run a smooth tournament with a staggering number of players in a venue that’s typically used to playing host to tournaments one-tenth this size. Players have to be registered, they have to be seated, and their disputes at the tables have to be settled in a timely fashion. They also have to be paid when they bust out in the money, which proved to be a bit of an issue last year.
While I haven’t personally spoken to the WSOP brass, there’s no doubt they’re fully aware of last year’s issues. They responded to player demands for the adjusted prize pool, and they’ll likely be prepared to handle the increased volume of players looking to receive their payouts. Expect a smoother ride this time around when it comes to logistics after last year’s learning experience.
Speaking of payouts, a major change this year is the revised structure. The money bubble is scheduled to burst on Day 1 flights, rather than during the combined Day 2. The new structure is a bit faster than last year’s, with 30-minute Day 1 levels rather than 40. The starting stack remains the same and more levels will be played in an effort to thin the field more quickly.
Strategically speaking, making Day 2 is hugely important because that’s when the levels jump to 60 minutes, giving you far more play, so be prepared to gamble a little early on but don’t be afraid to sneak into Day 2 with a short stack. Check out the full structure here.
Even with the newer structure encouraging faster play early on, the bottom line is that for a player new to the WSOP, there’s simply no better tournament than the Colossus. It offers a chance to take down a life-changing score for just a handful of buy-ins at your local casino’s weekly bounty tournament. For just $565 it provides an opportunity to capture a gold bracelet, not to mention etch your name in poker history as one of the very few to defeat a field of this size.
Unlike most sequels, the Colossus II (as the WSOP have dubbed it), should be an incredible hit — an event well worth attending for poker players of any experience or bankroll level. It might not be as prestigious as the Main Event, but for scores of lower-stakes players, it is their “main event.”
To read Part 1 of this series, How To Attack the WSOP, Part 1: Planning What To Play, click here.To read Part 2 of this series, How to Attack the WSOP, Part 2: Taking Advantage of Satellites, Live and Online, click here.To read Part 3 of this series, How to Attack the WSOP, Part 3: Coming Prepared, click here.To read Part 4 of this series, How to Attack the WSOP, Part 4: Know Your Limits — Limit Versus No-Limit Strategy, click here.To read Part 5 of this series, How to Attack the WSOP, Part 5: Tips From the Pros, click here.
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