50th WSOP Begins with Casino Employees Championship

DraftKings team at the 2019 WSOP Casino Employees Championship

The 50th Annual World Series of Poker began with the Casino Employees Championship and a $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty event. The Casino Employees Championship is a yearly tradition for WSOP Day 1.

The World Series of Poker takes place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada. This year’s tournament includes a record 89 events and culminates in the WSOP Main Event. This year, the WSOP Main Event begins on July 3.

Event #1 is the $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event, which gives dealers, bartenders, security, and pit bosses a chance to shine. Last year, the employees event draw 566 entrants and created a $283,000 prize pool.

That event ended with Aria poker dealer Jordan Hufty besting Jodie Sanders in a 4-hour long heads-up match. The win netted Jordan Hufty a $61,000 top prize and a WSOP gold bracelet.

2019 WSOP Casino Employees Championship

This is the 20th time for the employees event. When it began back in 2000, Event #1 was called the Dealers World Poker Championship. At the time, only casino dealers could enter the event. The first four years, the event involved limit hold’em, but now uses the more popular no-limit Texas Hold’em rules.

The 20th Employees Event is much different. Players receive 25,000 in starting chips, while the event takes place over two full days. Blinds start at 100/100 with 40-minute levels. Last year, the starting chips were 5,000, blinds were 25/25, and blind levels were 30 minutes.

Event #2: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty

The WSOP now features a high stakes event on its first day. The organizers want to bring top pros and high stakes poker players in for the start of the WSOP. Thus, we have the $10K NLH Super Turbo Bounty event.

Last year, the Super Turbo Bounty drew 243 entrants and had a $2,284,200 prize pool. Elio Fox won the event, $393,693 for first prize, and his 2nd WSOP gold bracelet.

DraftKings Enters Casino Employees Championship

Some changes are not institutional. DraftKings sent 6 entrants to the Casino Employees event this year, because the daily fantasy sports site now is a sportsbook. DraftKings entered the sports betting industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania this past year, so their employees qualify.

The DraftKings poker team includes Jonathan Aguiar, Asad Abdullah, Teng Zheng, Stephen Rose, Steve McLoughlin, and Sumanth Reddy. With data analysts and software engineers peopling the team, DraftKings draw attention for human interest stories.

Steve McLoughlin’s Poker Story

The 49-year-old Steve McLoughlin is an old hand at poker, having played on the first three seasons of Poker Night in America. McLoughlin described his poker life, stating, Poker was the first peer-to-peer game that ever caught my attention, and the game that still captures a significant amount of my attention since 2001.”

“In those early days I encountered many peers such as Greg Raymer, Ed Miller, Tom Dwan, Andrew Robel, Shaun Deeb, and my co-worker at DraftKings Jon Aguiar. They all got their start on the 2+2 forum.”

Super Turbo Bounty Event Details

This year’s event received a similar upgrade to the Casino Employees Championship. Entrants to the Super Turbo Bounty receive 60,000 in starting chips. The two-day event has 20-minute blinds levels, while the blinds start at 100/100.

Like last year, the bounties continue at $3,000 apiece.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for more than a decade. He worked for Small World Marketing for years, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. He's covered US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com since 2014.


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