Did you wake up this morning with a sense of anticipation? A feeling of elation that you haven’t felt since last year? Or were you like me and woke up to an e-mail informing you that your homeowner’s insurance policy is lapsing because your mortgage loan company’s system screwed up the premium payment?* If it is one of the first two options, the feeling you have is probably because the 2019 World Series of Poker begins today!

The WSOP kind of sort of started yesterday with satellite tournaments, but today is the first day of the actual bracelet events. Wednesday’s action includes two events: the $500 Casino Employees Event, which traditionally kicks off the festivities, and the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty for those people who like to rush their way through five-figure buy-ins.

Welcome to the Main Event…Eventually

On the other end of the 89-event schedule is the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event. As usual, there are three starting flights, the first of which begins on July 3rd. Everyone who makes it through Day 1A and Day 1B will play in their respective Day 2A and Day 2B flights on July 6th. The two flights will be segregated, though, to keep things fair. Day 2C will be on July 7th. This odd scheduling is because of the expected number of entries on each day. The first two starting flights are always much smaller than the last one, thus it is possible to hold both Day 2 flights in the Rio on the same calendar day. Day 1C – and in turn, Day 2C – is always insane, so Day 2C needs the casino all to itself.

The final table will begin on July 14th and will play down from nine players to six players. It will be cut to three players on July 15th and then a champion on July 16th (or the following morning, depending on how long it takes – I actually went to sleep last year and woke up just in time for the last few hands).

As always, there are some new tournaments this year, the highlight of which is probably the Big 50, a special event in honor of the WSOP’s 50th anniversary. It is an extremely low-price event compared to other WSOP tournaments, with a buy-in of just $500. There are four starting flights with one re-entry permitted in each. The initial entry is rake-free and the tournament has a $5 million guarantee, each a rarity at the World Series of Poker. The Big 50 begins on Thursday with Flight A.

Poker fans who want to follow the action live can do so on PokerGO and CBS All Access, both subscription-based streaming services. The first broadcast will be of the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty Final Table tomorrow, streamed by both services. Portions of the Main Event will be aired on the ESPN family of networks, with the entire Main Event final table broadcast semi-live (30-minute delay) on ESPN and ESPN2.

*No worries, the problem has been fixed.

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