Riding the wave of popularity of its just-completed World Series of Poker, Harrah’s Entertainment announced last week that it will launch the second season of its World Series Circuit tour beginning in August.
Not to be left out, Binion’s Gambling Hall used last weekend’s WSOP finals to announce it would toss its green visor-shade into the high-stakes tournament arena next year.
Harrah’s WSOP Circuit will feature 12 tournament stops that will bring high-stakes poker action to players in Harrah’s casinos around the country.
The Circuit kicks off August 11 at Grand Casino Tunica in Mississippi and continues at 11 other Harrah’s casinos in venues such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New Orleans, Biloxi and Lake Tahoe.
"The World Series of Poker is the richest and most prestigious gambling event on the planet, and we look forward to bringing all the excitement of tournament poker to our properties and customers around the country," said Ginny Shanks, senior vice president of brand management for Harrah’s Entertainment.
Each Circuit stop will offer several tournaments with buy-ins ranging from a few hundred dollars to $10,000 for the no-limit hold’em Circuit Championship. The winner of the final event of each Circuit stop will qualify for the tour’s grand finale, the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions.
The 2006 TOC, a $2 million free-roll event, will be played in Las Vegas next June just before the 2006 World Series of Poker. A free-roll event is one in which there is no "buy in" — players aren’t required to put up any of their own money to enter the tournament.
Back to Binion’s, which was the original home to the World Series of Poker, hotel officials announced the downtown casino will host the Binion’s Poker Classic in the fall of 2006.
"No single name has ever been more associated with the game of poker than Binion’s," said Binion’s General Manager Brian Eby. "We will again host the world’s best players in the exact place where it all started 35 years ago."
Eby said that specific details of the tournament such as the number of events and entries, buy-ins and cash prizes will be announced by August 1.
"But Binion’s is definitely back in the game and poker players as well as our thousands of loyal customers and poker fans will feel that as soon as they walk into the room," Eby said.
City officials expressed optimism that the return of tournament poker to Binion’s will help revitalize the downtown area.
"Binion’s Poker Classic will re-establish downtown Las Vegas as the poker center of the world," said Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. "And, an event of this magnitude will continue to revitalize downtown."
In 1970, Benny Binion, founder of the Horseshoe, christened the first World Series of Poker. The tournament grew every year until Harrah’s purchased it and the Horseshoe brand last year.
Binion’s Gaming Hall and Hotel is now owned by the MTR Gaming Group, which also operates the Ramada Inn and Speedway Casino in North Las Vegas and the Mountaineer Race Track in West Virginia.