After a couple of tiny technical snafus, the World Series of Poker now has full access available on their home web siteto the registration forms and rules for the 55 events comprising this year's WSOP. The schedule's been out for a while, but now any players anxious to get their ducks in a row can get their forms filled out, wire some money over to the Rio, and start ticking off the calendar days until June.
There's also been quite a bit of anticipation about new rules changes, and yes, there are some. So without further word noise, here are the things I've found most interesting:
A) A new $10,000 "WSOP" lammer will be introduced. The more I've thought about this, the more important I believe the news will be, particularly if the lammer becomes the only form of payment for the $1,000 satellites that increase in number as the Main Event approaches. Many players live at the satellite tables rather than play the smaller events, and with smaller-value lammers in use (as in previous years), the result was that most satellites saw deal-making and chops occurring. That could get cut back a bunch this year, forcing players to work out the majority of the cash balancing among themselves.
It also reduces the possibility that lots of players will accumulate high numbers of $10,000 lammers, just because there aren't that many chances to use the things, once earned. WSOP events with $10,000 or higher buy-ins number exactly two: the high-dollar H.O.R.S.E. tourney and the Main Event. While there will certainly be some peddling of them between players, the network for these is limited to a few hundreds, or maybe a couple thousand at most. Perhaps the $10K lammer will only be an option for receiving a payout, not a requirement. Otherwise, it would work contrary to the announced expansion from 200 to 300 tables for WSOP tournaments, satellites, and associated cash-game play.
B) Dress-code "liberalization"? Well, that's how it's pitched. But essentially, the new dress code seems more like this: "No smokin', spittin', hollerin', cussin', boozin' (unless it's Miller stuff), pimpin', insultin', gamblin' on other things, shootin', lustin', fartin', pimpin' t'other type, or gettin' us in trouble with the Feds. An' you kin wear a small patch for t'other stuff." Every year "Rule 34" seems to correspond to something noteworthy, and this year #34 is the dress-code code. Let's put it here in it's entirety:
34. Tournament participants may wear apparel with multiple logos, patches or promotional language. However, no individual logo, patch or block of promotional language is to be larger than 12 square inches. In addition, all logo, patches and promotional language are strictly prohibited if they:
(a) Contain any false, unsubstantiated, or unwarranted claims for any product or service, or make and testimonials that Harrah's, in its sole and absolute discretion, considers unethical;
(b) Advertise any habit-forming drug, tobacco product, handgun or handgun ammunition;
(c) Advertise and malt beverage or any non-alcoholic product containing the name of a liquor product other than Milwaukee's Best Light or another product of the Miller Brewing Company;
(d) Contain any material constituting or relating to a lottery, a contest of any kind inwhichthe public is unfairly treated or any enterprise, service or product that abets, assists or promotes illegal gambling;
(e) Contain any material that is defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, repulsive or offensive, either in theme or in treatment or that describes or depicts repellently any internal bodily functions or symptomatic results of internal conditions, or refers to matters that are not considered socially acceptable topics;
(f) Advertise pornographic products of any kind;
(g) Include any element of intellectual property without the owner's consent to such use or gives rise to any claim of infringement, misappropriation or other form of unfair competition;
(h) Disparage or libel any person or product;
(i) Advertise a dot.com gaming site that conducts business with U.S. residents;
(j) Are or might be injurious or prejudicial to the interests of the World Series of Poker, the Rio, Harrah's or its affiliated companies or are otherwise contrary to honest advertising and reputable business in general. This includes but is not limited to the name or logo of any person or entity that uses or has used the trademarks, trade names or logos of Harrah's or its affiliated companies without written authorization from an authorized officer of Harrah's;
(k) In addition, all logos, patches, and promotional language for any dot.net website must contain a clear and visible "dot.net" suffix at least the same size as the site name;
(l) Harrah's reserves the right at all times to impose a ban on any apparel deemed objectionable by Harrah's, in its sole and absolute discretion.
Maybe Miller should be recruited on behalf of forces combatting the UIGEA; they certainly know how to create a nice carve-out. And guys, while blue jeans seem to be acceptable, we're still waiting for word for you on Dockers®.
C) Harrah's also seems to have shifted its time-out penalties for various forms of bad behavior away from pure minutes (typically, multiples of ten minutes), to a "missed-hand" format, which means that a player in violation will be told to sit out one or more laps. This negates slow-play by other players who side with the penalized player, for whatever reason, and who would stall to minimize the impact of the time penalty.
There a few smaller changes as well, but these are the most noteworthy things.