All-stars competein WSOP tourney

Nov 7, 2005 1:03 AM

Many of the biggest names in poker descended on Caesars Palace this past weekend to compete for $2 million in total prize money at the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, sponsored by Harrah’s Entertainment.

The free-roll tournament featured, among others, the nine millionaires from the 36th annual World Series of Poker’s championship event final table. A free-roll is an event in which none of the participants is required to pay a "buy-in" or entry fee to compete.

The Tournament of Champions kicked off Sunday and is expected to be completed by Tuesday (November 8). The winner will receive $1 million.

ESPN, the exclusive broadcast partner of the World Series of Poker, will provide comprehensive coverage of the event, which is scheduled to be telecast from 1 to 4 p.m. Eastern Time on December 24, 2005.

"This is poker’s All-Star event," said Jeffrey Pollack, vice president of sports and entertainment marketing for Harrah’s Entertainment. "Some of the top names in the game will travel from around the globe to Caesars Palace for a chance at a huge payday and bragging rights."

"The Tournament of Champions will be a great culmination of our World Series of Poker coverage this year," added Fred Christenson, director of programming for ESPN Original Entertainment. "With its high-stakes action and some of the best known players in the game, we expect this event to draw very strong ratings."

"Caesars Palace has a long history of hosting world-class sporting events, and this one-of-a-kind tournament will continue that legacy," said Gary Selesner, senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. "This promises to be a spectacle no poker fan can afford to miss."

In all, nearly 120 players earned invitations to the Tournament of Champions. In addition to the nine players who made the final table at this year’s World Series of Poker main event, top finishers in five World Series of Poker Circuit events held in the 2004-05 season are also eligible. Among professionals who were committed to play are 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winners Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, and nine-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.

The World Series of Poker is owned and operated by Harrah’s Operating Company, Inc,, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment. Caesars Palace is a Harrah’s-operated casino.