WSOP 2024: Our Five Big Predictions for This Year's Series WSOP 2024: Our Five Big Predictions for This Year's Series

We’re just a few days away from the official unveiling of this year’s World Series of Poker 2024 schedule. Anticipation for the upcoming festival is sky-high, especially after the remarkable success of the 2023 series, which saw the Main Event setting all-time records.

Each year, WSOP officials introduce something fresh — whether it’s a new tournament format, record-breaking attempts, or a twist to established traditions. This year will be no different.

As we eagerly await the release of the official schedule, we have made five predictions for the WSOP 2024 series.

Prediction #1: WSOP Will Revise Player of the Year Formula

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year title stands as a pinnacle achievement in the poker world. It aims to crown the most successful player across the entire series.

Yet, each year, the POY contest faces scrutiny. Many feel the scoring system should be refined. It attracts critique every year, and organizers have implemented changes to the formula multiple times.

In 2023, Ian Matakis, a relatively unknown grinder, secured the title by beating Shaun Deeb. He cashed 22 times in the series and secured one bracelet victory. While undeniably impressive, the outcome garnered mixed reactions.

Critics argue online bracelet cashes should not factor into the POY race. Notably, out of Matakis’s 22 cashes, 8 were from online bracelets, and his sole bracelet victory came from an online event.

For the WSOP 2024 POY race, officials may exclude online events. Alternatively, they may prioritize live events over online ones, or institute a requirement that a player must win a live bracelet event to contend for the POY title.

Prediction #2: Main Event Payout Structure Revised

Despite reaching a historic milestone, the payout structure at the final table of the Main Event sparked controversy. Criticisms included prize allocations for the runner-up and ninth place as too low; the disparity between the first-place and runner-up prizes; and the decision to add an extra $100k to the winner’s prize.

Moreover, despite generating a prize pool of $93.3 million, not all final table participants left as millionaires, with the ninth-place finisher receiving a payout of $900k.

Various poker pros voiced their discontent, including 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker.

It’s anticipated that WSOP will address these concerns, possibly reverting to a $10 million first-place prize and ensuring million-dollar payouts for all final table participants. Additionally, adjustments may be made to reduce the discrepancy between the first-place and runner-up prizes, avoiding a repeat of last year’s nearly $5.6 million difference.

Of course, it is always possible that WSOP may opt to disregard all this feedback and even raise the first-place prize to $12.5 million. Such decisions will hinge on the turnout for the WSOP 2024 Main Event, which is likely to match or exceed that of 2023.

Prediction #3: WSOP Expected to Introduce PKO Bracelet Events

It was WSOP who pioneered the concept of the Mystery Bounty tournament back in 2020. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the series had to be canceled. However, the idea was adopted by Wynn, leading to its successful implementation in 2021 and the rest, as they say, is history.

In recent times, WSOP has been exploring Progressive Knockout (PKO) tournaments within its Circuit series. While PKOs are not a new concept — having debuted in online poker over a decade ago by Sky Poker and later popularized by PokerStars in 2014 — their adaptation to live events posed a logistical challenge tracking bounties in real time.

However, some operators seem to have overcome this hurdle, hosting PKOs in a live environment. Notably, WSOP itself incorporated them into its international live circuit events. Unlike Mystery Bounty tournaments, which undoubtedly remain a hot trend, in PKOs, the bounty values progressively increase, and players can start earning bounties right from the beginning without having to reach the in-the-money phase.

It is possible that during the upcoming summer series in Las Vegas, WSOP will introduce PKOs alongside Mystery Bounty tournaments, potentially in events with moderate field sizes.

Prediction #4: Reduction in Online Bracelet Events

In recent years, online bracelets for US players have surged. It began in 2015, with just a solitary online bracelet included in the summer schedule. This number steadily increased: 3 in 2017, 4 in 2018, 9 in 2019, 11 in 2021, and 13 in 2022.

Last year, it hit 20 for players in New Jersey and Nevada sharing the same player pool, with an additional half a dozen bracelets offered for players in Michigan and Pennsylvania combined.

This year, we guess this trend will reverse, with fewer events than the previous year.

WSOP officials not only run online bracelets alongside the summer series but also conduct a comprehensive series in the fall, featuring over 30 online bracelets between September and October.

While the average prize pool per online bracelet event during the summer series has remained consistent over the years, hosting an excessive number might lead to “bracelet fatigue” and diminish their esteemed value.

Our prediction for the WSOP 2024 summer series expects between 16 to 20 online bracelets for players in New Jersey and Nevada.

Prediction #5: Added Main Event Seats to Ladies Event

To bolster female participation in both the Main Event and the broader series, WSOP may consider adding Main Event seats to the Ladies event in addition to the regular prize pool.

Historically, the representation of women in the Main Event field has been below 5%. In 2022, the number of female participants experienced a slight increase to 375, representing 4.3% of the total field size. However, in 2023, although the number of female participants rose from 375 to 395, the percentage dropped to 3.9%.

Increasing female participation diversifies the community and attracts a wider audience, fostering greater interest in the game. One way to boost female participation in the Main Event, the richest poker tournament, is to allocate additional seats to the Ladies event, exclusively for female players. This initiative would likely encourage more women to join the Ladies event.

Usually, the WSOP summer schedule consists of a $1000 Ladies Championship event. Last year, the event drew a record turnout of 1295 female players. Its participation is expected to go further this year.

Over the years, only a handful of women have won bracelet events. Imagining a female player making a deep run in the Main Event or even reaching the final table would undoubtedly generate positive media coverage and ultimately contribute to the growth of poker.