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Poker players prepare for long grind through fall WSOP

Can there be too much poker? Top pro players are about to find out.

The schedule was announced last week for the return of the flagship World Series of Poker at the Rio from Sept. 30 to Nov. 23. That massive tournament series will follow the WSOP Online, with its U.S. portion running from July 1 to Aug. 1 on WSOP.com and its international version running from Aug. 1 to Sept. 12 on GGPoker.

Throw in some big buy-in events on the PokerGO Tour, and players will have significant tournaments available to them throughout the summer and fall.

“That’s a lot of poker,” said Phil Hellmuth, the all-time leader with 15 WSOP bracelets. “As much as all of us are excited, on the other hand that’s a lot of time and effort and work.”

The WSOP awards trophy bracelets for its tournament victories.

The flagship WSOP was canceled last year and delayed from the summer to the fall this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The WSOP Online was held in place of the live WSOP last year, but was kept on the schedule this year.

Daniel Negreanu, a six-time WSOP bracelet winner, said he thinks poker players will enjoy getting out of the Las Vegas heat during the live WSOP, and he will have a different experience when retreating to his trailer in the parking lot on breaks.

“Maybe heat rather than air conditioning for the first time,” he said.

Negreanu plans to play the U.S. WSOP Online from his Las Vegas home, then travel to Mexico for the international version before returning for the WSOP at the Rio.

“It is kind of daunting when you take it in as like, ‘Oh, my god, I’m going to be playing poker basically every day for the rest of the year,’” he said.

As usual, the WSOP schedule at the Rio offers poker players from virtually all levels a shot at glory, with buy-ins ranging from $400 to $250,000. On opening day, Hellmuth and Negreanu will be jumping into a $25,000 buy-in HORSE event that should be filled with poker’s elite. (HORSE is a rotation of five poker games — Limit Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, Razz, Seven-card Stud and Seven-card Stud High-Low).

The next day, the WSOP will host the first of three starting flights for The Reunion, a $500 No-limit Hold’em event with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool.

“I love the schedule. I think they did a really great job as always,” Negreanu said. “There’s something there for everybody.”

David Peters, a two-time WSOP bracelet winner who won his second straight U.S. Poker Open title last week, said he wasn’t concerned about burning out on high-stakes poker.

“I like the action,” he said. “And if I feel like I’m worn out or want a break, I can always take a break. I’m not going to force myself to play everything.”

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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