Thursday, December 18, 2008

WSOP Evaluating Merits of Rebuy Tournaments, by Dan Cypra - Poker News Daily - 16th December 2008

Heading into the 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP), the major change handed down by tournament officials was the introduction of a 117 day break prior to the start of the Main Event final table, which occurred in November. The move was considered by many to be a resounding success, as television ratings and interest in poker boomed as a result. Heading into 2009, rebuy tournaments may become a distant memory.

Poker News Daily has confirmed a rumor that WSOP officials are considering doing away with rebuy events for the 2009 tournament series. There were five rebuy contests held during the 2008 schedule:

Event #5: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with Rebuys
Event #18: $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball with Rebuys
Event #28: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys
Event #34: $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys
Event #44: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with Rebuys

World Series of Poker Communications Director Seth Palansky told Poker News Daily, “For rebuys, we are simply in discussions on the benefits and drawbacks of having these events as bracelet events. We like rebuys and think they are a fun and exciting game for poker players, but at the same time, we are questioning their place in the World Series of Poker.”

In many cases, the rebuy period ends after the first two levels of play in a tournament. However, players can often play very loosely during this time and, if their bankroll allows for it, simply rebuy if they are eliminated. However, this has raised eyebrows as to whether a bracelet is warranted for potentially just having the deepest pockets. For example, during Event #5, Suk Song re-bought 23 times. In 2006, PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu reloaded an amazing 46 times and added on twice during a rebuy tournament.

In Event #18, Todd Brunson invested a whopping $140,000. To put that number in perspective, Brunson would have had to finish fourth in order to break even; he ultimately did not make the money. Negreanu invested $85,000 in Event #28. This time, however, his gamble paid off, as he finished seventh and cashed for $129,000.

In Event #34, the number of rebuys was up a remarkable 53% in 2009 in comparison to 2008, causing the total prize pool to balloon by 43%. Layne Flack invested $33,000 in the tournament, which meant that he needed to place 12th or better out of 320 entrants in order to make his money back. Luckily, Flack ended up winning the entire tournament and taking home $577,000, or 17 times his buy-in, for his sixth WSOP bracelet.

The $1,000 rebuy tournament first became a part of the WSOP in 2004. In 2005, two $1,000 No Limit Hold’em rebuy tournaments were held, a trend that has existed ever since. One player re-bought 17 times in Event #44 in 2008, although WSOP officials declined to name who he or she was. The top 27 players received $18,000 or more.

Palansky elaborated further, “The bracelet and its prestige are of paramount importance to us and we want to ensure that anyone who does win a bracelet does so because they played the best poker throughout an event.” In 2007, there were six rebuy events held as part of the WSOP festivities. In 2006, there were four, which was one fewer than in 2005. The 2008 WSOP featured 54 bracelet events in total, meaning that rebuys accounted for roughly 9% of the tournaments. The Main Event is a $10,000 buy-in freeze out.

WSOP and Harrah’s officials will likely take into account views from its Players Advisory Council when making a decision. The discussion may focus on whether rebuy tournaments favor deep-pocketed poker players and whether the merits of having a portion of the WSOP schedule devoted to rebuys jeopardizes the esteem of a bracelet.

No timeline has been set for an announcement one way or another and the 2009 WSOP schedule has not been released. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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