The 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is still over four months away, but tournament organizers recently revealed two major shifts to the upcoming schedule.

In a press release issued on January 15, editor in chief Seth Palansky announced the addition of a “Value Menu” aimed at appealing to recreational players. This selection of 25 gold bracelet tournaments features buy-ins of $1,000 or less, including four priced at $500 and one at $400.

The announcement also touched on the WSOP’s “concerted effort” to shift its No Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE) tournament schedule from the re-entry format to single-entry “freezeouts.” The 2020 WSOP will open with a $1,000 “Value Menu” NLHE event featuring the freezeout format on May 27, with the remainder of the series running through July 15.

Value Menu Consolidates 25 Most Affordable Live Tournaments

The WSOP has made great strides in recent years when it comes to expanding the series access to recreational players. Whereas the cheapest buy-in for open gold bracelet events at the WSOP was historically set at $1,000, the 2015 edition introduced the $565 buy-in “Colossus” tournament.

Marketed as the most affordable way to enter the gold bracelet chase, the inaugural “Colossus” event drew 22,374 entries – setting what was then a world record for most entries in a poker tournament.

The success of that first sub-$1,000 buy-in event prompted the WSOP to expand its low-budget offerings to three the following year. By last year’s edition, the WSOP spread 22 live gold bracelet tournaments priced at $1,000 or less, along with eight more accessible via the online / mobile platform.

Until now, however, these inexpensive to enter events weren’t bundled together using a marketing strategy like the Value Menu.

As part of this week’s announcement, WSOP vice president Jack Effel explained the need for a clearly branded Value Meal schedule:

“Everyone loves good value and the WSOP has continued to enhance its offering to meet the demand at these meaningful price points.

Delivering large prize pools, new players and exciting formats are core objectives of the WSOP and these 25 events are key to meeting this mandate.”

You can see how the entire 2020 WSOP Value Menu schedule stacks up in the table below:

Date Buy-In Event
May 27 $1,000 Freezeout No Limit Hold’em*
May 27 $500 Casino Employees No Limit Hold’em
May 28-31 $500 “Big 50” No Limit Hold’em
June 1 $600 No Limit Hold’em Deepstack
June 2 $1,000 Super Turbo Bounty No Limit Hold’em*
June 7 $1,000 “Forty Stack” No Limit Hold’em
June 8 $600 Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack (Eight-Handed)
June 10 $1,000 Pot Limit Omaha (Eight-Handed)
June 14 $800 No Limit Hold’em Deepstack
June 15 $500 Freezeout No Limit Hold’em*
June 16 $600 Mixed No Limit Hold’em / Pot Limit Omaha
June 17 $1,000 Ladies No Limit Hold’em Championship
June 18 $1,000 Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship (50+)
June 19-20 $1,000 Double Stack No Limit Hold’em
June 21 $800 No Limit Hold’em Deepstack
June 22 $1,000 “Super Seniors” No Limit Hold’em (60+)
June 22 $1,000** “Tag Team” No Limit Hold’em (Two-Person Teams)*
June 23 $600 Deepstack No Limit Hold’em Championship
June 24-25 $400 “Colossus” No Limit Hold’em
June 26-27 $888 “Crazy Eights” No Limit Hold’em (Eight-Handed)
June 29 $1,000 Mini Main Event No Limit Hold’em*
June 30 $500 “Final 500 Salute to Warriors” No Limit Hold’em
July 4-6 $1,000 + $111*** “Little One for ONE DROP” No Limit Hold’em
July 12 $800 No Limit Hold’em Deepstack
July 13 $1,000 Super Turbo No Limit Hold’em

*Freezeout event
**$1,000 buy-in per team
***Additional $111 entry fee is donated to ONE DROP water access charity

Freezeouts and Single Re-Entry Replacing Multiple Re-Entry Model

Before the poker boom era of some 15 years ago, the WSOP and other major tournament series limited players to a single entry per event in what’s known as the “freezeout” format.

The introduction of guaranteed prize pools prompted tournament organizers to offer “rebuys” or “re-entries,” allowing a player who has been eliminated to buy back in up until a predetermined deadline.

This setup favors the well-heeled professionals who wield large enough bankrolls to enable multiple re-entries en route to building the biggest possible chip stack early on. So much so that prominent pro Daniel Negreanu took to his Twitter account to announce his plans to skip out on re-entries altogether during the 2020 WSOP:

“I’m considering playing all of 2020 with no reentry.

That means I won’t cash as often. Won’t make as many final tables, but at least I won’t be taking part in something I don’t thing should exist, or at least be the norm.

When I would use the rules to my advantage, and play crazy in the early levels of a rebuy event, I could see how it often hurt the amateurs experience.

Sometimes they even told me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but it started to feel that way.”

Palansky seemingly agrees with that sentiment, as his comments in the press release confirm that the 2020 schedule will see many events shift from the unlimited or multiple re-entry format to freezeouts:

“The freezeout format – allowing only one entry – is part of a concerted effort by the WSOP in 2020.

The opening event, plus at least one No-Limit Hold’em event a week in this format is planned for the rest of the series.

The WSOP is committed to keeping a significant portion of the schedule utilizing the freezeout format.”

Last year, 46 percent of the 90-event schedule featured freezeout style poker.

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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