Baltimore poker players and fans who hoped to test their skills out at the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit event at the Horseshoe this season will be disappointed to learn that it’s been pulled from the tour. Instead, the Circuit has scheduled two stops in Chicago — the Horseshoe Hammond and Horseshoe Tunica — as well as several other changes made for 2018/19.
Prior to its removal, the event at the Horseshoes had been a regular fixture on the Circuit arm of the WSOP poker festival. Virginia native Michael Junkin was the last player to scoop the Main Event prize and a gold bracelet in the Baltimore plays during the 2017/18 season.
A Record Year for Casinos in Baltimore
Interestingly, the Horseshoe WSOP Circuit event has pulled during a year that has seen casinos in the region hit new, record revenue. While the Horseshoe was unable to capitalize on previous years’ revenue and top them individually, collectively, the six casinos in the state repeatedly generated year-on-year growth within every month during 2018. October was the record month, with total revenue generated by the casinos reaching $158 million — an 18.6 percent increase when compared with October 2017. The palatial new MGM National Harbor, a $1.4 billion casino from the iconic entertainment empire in Prince George’s County, has generated the most revenue for the year.
Other Changes to the WSOP Circuit Schedule
The removal of the Baltimore stop and the addition of the two new stops in Chicago are not the only changes made to the WSOP Circuit schedule for 2018/19. The Florida stop, which last year took place in the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, has relocated to the brand’s Seminole Casino Coconut Creek resort.
Also, event buy-ins of $365 in previous tournaments have increased in 2018/19 to $400, and the Main Event buy-in went up to $1,700 (from $1,675 in 2017/18). Starting stacks have also increased, along with the buy-ins: $400 events now have 15,000 chips, and 300,000 will go to players in the Main Event, compared to 10,000 and 20,000, respectively, in previous tournaments. The Circuit still has a variety of events at each stop, with buy-ins ranging from $250 to $1,700 for low-stakes events. High-roller events will include buy-ins of $2,200, $3,250 or $5,300, and the big blind ante format will also incorporate into select events throughout the tour.
Professional Tournaments in the U.S.
The WSOP Circuit tournaments are, of course, smaller traveling tournaments from the WSOP organization. The WSOP Main Event remains as the pinnacle of professional poker, both in the U.S. and abroad, and the 60+ events that occur on the tournament schedule between the end of May and beginning of July each year offer every poker variant imaginable. Elsewhere, the World Poker Tour (WPT) and WPTDeepStacks are highly regarded professional tournaments, with prize pools in excess of $1 million hotly contested for by legendary pros like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey.
Another highlight of the annual professional poker calendar in the U.S. is the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT). As the top low-stakes poker tournament in the country, the games played out on the HPT also form the basis of a syndicated poker TV show, which airs for a total of 52 weeks a year.