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Top 10 groups that should play the WSOP tag team event

14 March 2016

Three weeks ago, the World Series of Poker announced its 2016 schedule of events, and poker players around the world started circling dates on their calendars and making plans for their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for poker's premier tournament series.

Many, of course, are planning on kicking off the series in style, as the WSOP will attempt to break its own record for the largest live tournament in poker history with the $565 Colossus II No-Limit Hold'em event, scheduled to start on Thursday, June 2. Last year's event drew 22,374 entries from 14,284 unique players. This year, with six Day 1 flights over three days (last year there were four flights over two days) and a registration process that will likely be vastly improved, it's a pretty safe assumption that the record will be smashed.

Of course, other no-limit Hold'em events have become huge draws in recent years, such as the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, the $1,500 Monster Stack and the $1,111 Little One for One Drop. Poker fans and those with enough cash to compete in the more expensive events are again excited about the $111,111 One Drop High Roller, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and, of course, the $10,000 Main Event.

But there's one event that really caught my eye this year that could conceivably have the largest overall field outside of Colossus II. This year, for the first time ever, the WSOP is initiating a $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em event. The last time the WSOP held a "team" bracelet event was in 1981, when 52 teams entered a $600 7-Card Stud Mixed Doubles event. The 2012 schedule included a $560 doubles no-limit Hold'em event, but it was a non-bracelet affair that drew 415 entries.

This year's format is somewhat different, as teams can include 2-4 people and the players determine who is sitting at the table at any particular time. The only stipulation is that each player on the team must play at least one round of blinds, and there can be no substitutions mid-hand. Otherwise, teams are free to determine who should be at the table however they like.

I played in my first WSOP bracelet event last year. As a poker lover who has covered the WSOP eight times, I can't recommend playing in an event highly enough. It really is a bucket-list experience, and one that I love to share with others. For that reason, I've twice organized a satellite event for regulars in my home game to get to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. A $2,000 poker trip (if you consider buy-in and travel) is quite a bit for the regulars in my $.25/$.50 home game, but I hope it's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

As a result, I think that the WSOP's Tag Team event this year is an exciting, and hopefully successful, innovation. I'm hoping to convince some friends to come and play the event with me, and there's no doubt that plenty of others are thinking the same thing.

The beauty of this event is that there are so many different groups of people that can enjoy it at a relatively low cost — as little as $250 each. Here are 10 great groupings that should think about playing the WSOP Tag Team event together.

10. Parent/child
So many people learned how to play poker by playing cards with their parents. For some it may have just been one parent, while others were raised in a family where card games were a typical Sunday night family activity. These teams can be formed in whatever composition makes sense for your family. It could be a parent-child duo or one child and both parents. Whatever combination works for your family, start planning and make it happen.

9. Poker forum friends
Maybe you're a regular on the Two Plus Two poker forums. Or maybe, like me, you're a poker chip aficionado who drools over the chip sets that people post on If this description fits you, you likely have gotten to know some of the posters on your poker forum of choice — or as my wife calls them, "your friends from the Internet." Maybe you've met some of these people in person, or maybe you haven't. Either way, you've probably worked through hand histories with them and learned a bit about their personal lives. Why not use the team event as an opportunity to get together with your Internet friends and try to win a bracelet together?

8. Sports teammates
What better teambuilding experience could there be? Sure, you could get your team out on a high ropes course and do trust falls. But nothing says you trust your teammate more than handing off control in a poker tournament to him or her when there's final table money on the line. I'd love to see Paul Pierce back at the WSOP this year, and if he plays, I hope he brings his LA Clipper teammates Blake Griffin and Chris Paul with him to play in this event. Of course, this is also a great opportunity for college sports teams, as long as all the players who are going to play in the event are 21 or older.

7. Blind dates
Want to impress that person you just swiped right? Take them to the Rio and play in the tag team event. Note: This probably only works for Las Vegas locals. I don't think you're going to convince someone you just met on Tinder to take a flight to Las Vegas with you.

6. Three generations team
My grandfather never played poker — at least not to my knowledge. But he loved a good card game. If the WSOP spread 31 as a bracelet event and my grandfather were still alive, I'd be doing everything I could to get my father and grandfather out to Las Vegas to play.

As I said earlier, there's a special bond between family members who play cards together. Those who have played poker with family should take advantage of this opportunity to play as a team.

5. Soldiers/Sailors/Marines/Airmen in the same military unit
Is there a better team than the men and women of the U.S. armed services? And what better uniform to wear during a tag team event than your military uniform? I'd actually love to see the WSOP hold a bracelet event next year just for active military and veterans, but until that time, I think the tag team event would be a great opportunity for military personnel to play the WSOP as a team.

4. High school friends
It can be hard to get together with people you grew up with, and it only gets harder as you get older. If you moved away from your home town, and they did as well, you may go years without seeing people who at one time in your life were your most valued friends. Don't let another year go by — promise to get together out in Las Vegas to play in the team event together.

3. Coworkers
If you work in a high-stress job, let off some steam with a trip to Las Vegas to play in a poker tournament with some friends from work. Or, if you're a small business owner or a supervisor with a big enough budget to give your employees a bonus, send your top performers to Las Vegas for some rest, relaxation and a poker tournament experience that will build teamwork and camaraderie.

2. Spouses
Sure, there are some pretty famous poker couples (like Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak) out there, but there are thousands of married people who enjoy playing poker together that aren't famous at all. If you enjoy playing poker with your husband or your wife, buy them an anniversary present (early, late or otherwise) and plan a trip to Las Vegas to play in this event together.

1. Home game friends
This event is tailor-made for a group of friends who play poker in their basement to make their first trip out to the WSOP. These groups get together play and talk poker, give each other a hard time, and in the process, build lifelong friendships. If you've been playing in a home game with friends for a long time, why wouldn't you get together and plan a trip to Las Vegas to play in this event? Even if you bust out short of the money (and 85% of the teams will), you'll be in Las Vegas with your poker buddies! Get tickets to a show, have a great meal at one of the best restaurants in town, then hit the Mirage and play some $1/$2 no-limit Hold'em. It will be a trip you'll never forget.
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.