Some of the biggest names in professional poker will participate in the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions (TOC), a $2 million, free-roll tournament at Caesars Palace, November 6-8.
The final nine players from the World Series of Poker’s main event are eligible to join more than 100 top players who qualified for the TOC at five World Series of Poker Circuit events earlier this year.
Among those eligible to participate in the TOC are top-ranked professional players, including Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Antonio Esfandiari, Jennifer Harman, T.J. Cloutier, Chris Ferguson, Robert Williamson, Russ Hamilton, Yosh Nakano, Michael Mizrachi and Mimi Tran.
Other qualifiers include reigning WSOP champion Joseph Hachem, who won $7.5 million at this year’s main event, and fellow final-table millionaires Steve Dannenman, Derek Barch, Aaron Kanter, Andrew Black, Scott Lazar, Daniel Bergsdorf, Brad Kondracki and Mike Matusow.
The TOC is a free-roll event — players aren’t required to put up any of their own money to enter — that will award $2 million in prize money. First prize will be $1 million, second $325,000, third $250,000, fourth $150,000, fifth $100,000, sixth $75,000, seventh $50,000, and eighth and ninth $25,000.
"This Tournament of Champions is just one way of saying ”˜thank you’ to the skilled and talented players who have helped make the World Series of Poker the richest sporting event on the planet," said Jeffrey Pollack, vice president of sports and entertainment marketing for Harrah’s, which owns the World Series events. "We’re especially proud to host it at Caesars Palace, the premier luxury brand in the Harrah’s portfolio."
Harrah’s purchased the World Series of Poker from the Binion’s family last year and moved the venue from the former Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this year.
Harrah’s also implemented a series of World Series of Poker "Circuit Tournaments" that are held throughout the country.The second season of Circuit tourneys features an expanded schedule of 12 stops at Harrah’s casinos around the country, up from five events in its inaugural season.
The 2005-06 Circuit begins this month at Grand Casino Tunica and includes events at Harrah’s casinos in venues such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New Orleans and Lake Tahoe.
Each stop on the 2005-06 Circuit 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 2006 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, which also will be telecast by ESPN.
"No one produces poker better than ESPN and we’re thrilled to have it provide enhanced coverage of the expanded 2005-06 World Series of Poker Circuit," Pollack said.
The 2005-2006 schedule for the WSOP Circuit follows:
Grand Casino Tunica Aug. 11-25
Harrah’s Las Vegas Sept. 6-16
Caesars Indiana Oct. 19-Nov. 2
Paris/Bally’s Las Vegas Nov. 9-22
Showboat Atlantic City Nov. 28-Dec. 9
Grand Casino Tunica Jan. 5-26
Harrah’s Atlantic City Feb. 7-17
Caesars Atlantic City March 21-31
Caesars Palace Las Vegas April 3-14
Harrah’s New Orleans May 18-28
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe June 6-16
2006 TOC at Rio June 28-29
2006 WSOP at Rio Summer 2006