2021 WSOP tournament schedule

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: August 24, 2021 9:16 pm EDT

The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) begins on September 30, 2021. The WSOP is the world’s largest live poker gathering. This year, the WSOP again stretches for more than seven weeks, ending on November 22, with a schedule packed with events designed to please players of all persuasions.

You’ll find the complete 2021 WSOP schedule below, followed by a breakdown of the series’ many highlights. Each year the focus is on the $10,000 Main Event, but there’s so much more for poker players and fans to dig into. Use our guide as an easy reference to the what, where and when of the 2021 WSOP.

This year’s World Series of Poker encompasses 88 separate bracelet events. Stay tuned for a full breakdown of the WSOP’s most important offerings, including buy-ins, event names and numbers, starting chip counts, durations, and more.

2021 WSOP Schedule

The Main Event

Starting on November 4, the WSOP’s annual $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, otherwise known as the Main Event, is where poker’s stars are made. From Doyle Brunson to Stuey Ungar, from Phil Hellmuth to Carlos Mortensen, Chris Moneymaker, and Greg Raymer, to Ryan Riess and Joe Cada, winning the Main Event is the hallmark of greatness.

It never comes easy. Each year’s eventual winner emerges from a field of 8,000 players or more. The winner must battle through nine full days of action, which with multiple starting flights makes the Main Event a two-week affair. The 2021 WSOP Main Event begins on November 4 with the first of four Day 1 flights. Action continues until November 17, when the winner is decided.

Other $10,000 ‘World Championship’ events

The Main Event isn’t the only “World Championship” at the WSOP. Thirteen other major poker variants receive their own $10,000 buy-in event. These events are scattered throughout the entire WSOP schedule and draw poker’s most experienced players. In sequential order, with starting dates noted, these World Championship events include:

  • Monday, October 4: Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
  • Thursday, October 7: Limit Hold’em
  • Saturday, October 9: Seven-Card Stud
  • Thursday, October 14: Short Deck No-Limit Hold’em
  • Monday, October 18: Dealer’s Choice 6-Handed
  • Wednesday, October 20: H.O.R.S.E.
  • Saturday, October 23: Pot-Limit Omaha
  • Monday, October 25: Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Single Draw
  • Friday, October 29: 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em
  • Saturday, October 30: Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Triple Draw
  • Wednesday, November 3: Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
  • Saturday, November 13: Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better
  • Tuesday, November 16: Razz

Each of these “Championship” receives the WSOP’s daily afternoon starting slot, typically getting underway at 2pm or 3pm. Since these Championship tourneys draw smaller but highly elite fields, they can be run on tables where that morning’s larger-in-player-volume startup has already seen a few hundred players go bust. Such simultaneous scheduling on a daily basis is part of how the WSOP makes an 88-event schedule work.

High-roller and other elite events

In recent years, the WSOP has introduced a handful of events catering specifically to elite pros and occasional well-heeled business types. They were introduced due to complaints that the Main Event, with its huge fields and a $10,000 buy-in, freezeout format that hasn’t changed in over 50 years, no longer really represented poker’s elite.

Some of these — but not all — are officially deemed as “high roller” events. Each has a buy-in of at least $25,000. The most famous of these nosebleed tourneys is the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (PPC), which encompasses multiple poker variants. It was the first “open” event besides the Main Event whose winner received a specially-designed bracelet. In recent years, it’s also been the personal playground of Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, who’s claimed this title four times.

In 2021, the WSOP offers 10 of these high-rollers. Buy-ins range from $25,000 to $25,000, and except for the PPC, all are variants of no-limit hold’em or Omaha. These are out of reach for most players, but they’re still huge hits with the railbirds, who can catch glimpses of the game’s most famous players gathered at just a few tables. Here’s the list of these events:

  • Thursday, September 30: $25,000 H.O.R.S.E.
  • Saturday, October 2: $25,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed
  • Tuesday, October 5: $25,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship (this tourney is the only Championship event with a buy-in over $10,000, and it’s limited to 128 entrants)
  • Tuesday, October 19: $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed
  • Wednesday, October 27: $25,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed)
  • Sunday, October 31: $50,000 Poker Players Championship 6-Handed
  • Thursday, November 18: $250,000 Super High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
  • Friday, November 19: $50,000 High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha
  • Saturday, November 20, $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em
  • Sunday, November 21: $100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em

Many of these high-roller events are scheduled immediately before and after the Main Event, in an effort to keep most of poker’s luminaries busy at the Rio’s tables during this period, rather than competing elsewhere.

Big-field tourneys and other weekend specials

A growing trend in recent years is the WSOP’s roster of “big field” events, running every weekend. Like the Main Event, these events can pack the Rio to the rafters. Unlike the ME, these other weekend specials usually feature lower buy-ins, fast-paced formats, unlimited rebuys, and multiple opening flights.

These events were first designed to give casual players and weekend visitors a chance to play a WSOP event at a bankroll-friendly price. The unlimited rebuys, though, do give well-financed pros a strategic edge. Overall, they’re among the WSOP’s most popular offerings.

Each of the first five weekends of the 2021 WSOP features one of these big-field events. This list includes the first starting day for each of the five tourneys:

  • Friday, October 1: $500 The Reunion
  • Friday, October 8: $1,500 The Millionaire Maker
  • Friday, October 15: $1,500 The Monster Stack
  • Friday, October 22: $1,000 The Double Stack
  • Friday, October 29: $400 The Colossus

Expect long lines, jammed hallways, and a lot of poker fun.

Closed-field events

Each year, the WSOP offers a small number of closed-field events, open only to those who meet an employment, gender, or age standard. In 2021, the WSOP offers four such events:

  • Thursday, September 30: $500 Casino Employees event — the WSOP’s traditional opening event
  • Monday, October 11: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies Championship — this event is technically open to both genders and carries a $10,000 buy-in, but ladies then receive a $9,000 discount
  • Wednesday, October 27: $1,000 Seniors Championship — open to players age 50 and up, and with two starting flights for 2021
  • Sunday, October 31: $1,000 Super Seniors Championship — open to players 60 and up

Each of these closed events offers no-limit hold’em play.

Experimental formats and other special events

The World Series of Poker prides itself on offering tournaments and formats that aren’t offered in most other series. Sometimes those are also designed for elite pros, such as the Short Deck and Heads-Up high-roller events.

That experimentation extends to lower buy-in events as well. The 2021 WSOP slate includes a couple of shootouts, dealer’s choice, super-turbo bounties, mixed-game hybrids, a tag-team tourney and more. These are scattered throughout the WSOP’s seven-week run.

Charitable and themed events

The WSOP always includes a couple of events where a slice of the proceeds goes to deserving charities. In 2021, both the Little One for One Drop and the Salute to Warriors tourneys return. Other events try to create a unique theme to boost player and fan interest. The opening-weekend Reunion event is among them, marking the WSOP’s return to live play after more than two years on ice. Examples include the popular Crazy Eights, the Mini Main, and the Poker Hall of Fame Bounty freezeout.

Here’s how these special events fit into the 2021 WSOP tournament schedule:

  • Tuesday, November 2: $500 Salute to Warriors
  • Wednesday, November 3: $1,000 Mini Main (in a freezeout format, like the Main Event)
  • Monday, November 8, Little One for One Drop
  • Thursday, November 11: $888 Crazy Eights (eight players per table)
  • Wednesday, November 17: $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty Freezeout

The rest of the schedule

Even with all of these themed offerings, the paragraphs above don’t come close to completing the WSOP’s annual schedule. Under the category of “everything else” are a few dozen events with buy-ins ranging from $1,500 to $5,000.

These events include lower-priced, non-Championship offerings in numerous poker variants. They also include plenty of no-limit hold’em and Omaha, meaning that no matter when someone arrives at the WSOP, bracelet events in the game’s two most popular formats is always available.

And there you have it. As in previous years, the 2021 WSOP is a poker festival designed to provide diversity and popularity while at the same time, keeping the Rio Convention Center as full as possible. If you can afford the trip, you’re likely to find just the format you seek. That’s the way it’s designed.