Harrah’s Entertainment last week announced its schedule for the 2008 World Series of Poker, which for the first time ever will begin and end with $10,000 buy-in World Championship events and feature a total of eight $10,000 championships.
Also added will be a memorial trophy in honor of Chip Reese, to be awarded to the $50,000 HORSE event champion.
Reese died two weeks ago at his Las Vegas home.
In addition, the 55-event schedule for 2008 includes a total of eight $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments, which traditionally draw the largest fields except for the Main Event.
The WSOP has also added a second start day for the first of the $1,500 no-limit competitions to accommodate the expected number of entrants.
"This is our most exciting schedule yet," said Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the WSOP. "Both amateur and professional poker players will have new opportunities to compete for a WSOP bracelet and can choose from the widest variety of games and buy-ins ever offered in one poker tournament and certainly at the WSOP.
"We’re holding steady at 55 events this year," said Pollack. "But, we’ve mixed it up a bit to keep it interesting for our players and fans."
Also beginning this year, winners of the $50,000 buy-in HORSE World Championship will receive a trophy named after the late David "Chip" Reese.
"A true gentleman and the youngest person admitted to the Poker Hall of Fame, Chip Reese was recognized by his peers as the most successful player in the biggest mixed cash games of all time," Pollack said. "But he was also a great tournament player with three WSOP bracelets, including one for his historic victory in the inaugural $50,000 buy-in HORSE tournament in 2006.
"As a tribute to this great player who embodied the very best of our game, next year’s $50,000 HORSE World Championship will be played in Chip’s honor and memory," Pollack said. "And the winner will receive the ”˜David "Chip" Reese Award,’ as well as a WSOP bracelet, to commemorate their achievement."
The 2008 WSOP, hosted once again by the Rio in Las Vegas, starts May 30 with the $10,000 buy-in World Championship of Pot-Limit Hold’Em and ends July 16 with the Final Table of the $10,000 buy-in World Championship of No Limit Texas Hold’em — best known as the WSOP Main Event.
The six other $10,000 buy-in events — all World Championship competitions — include: Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’Em; Seven-Card Stud; Limit Hold’Em; Omaha Hi-Low Split Eight or Better; Pot-Limit Omaha; and a new Mixed Event. The Mixed Event will feature eight variations of poker: Limit and No-Limit Hold’em; Omaha Hi-Low and Pot-Limit Omaha; Seven Card Stud; Razz; Seven Card Hi-Low Split; and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball.
The second event of the 2008 WSOP is a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament with two starting day’s May 31 and June 1.
Pre-registration for the 2008 WSOP can be made beginning in February on-site at the Main Cage of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino or at http://www.worldseriesofpoker.com.
In addition to the largest cash prizes in poker, winners of each of the 55 events will receive an exclusive World Series of Poker gold bracelet crafted by the luxury Swiss watchmaker CORUM. Last year, 54,288 entrants who ranged in age from 21 (bracelet winner Steve Billirakis) to 94 (Main Event contestant Jack Ury) competed for the poker world’s largest total prize pool of nearly $160 million.
The 2008 WSOP will be staged inside the Rio Convention Center from May 30 through July 16. WSOP officials plan a "soft opening" of the tournament room on May 28 and 29 for players to register early and play in satellite tournaments and cash games.
"The poker tent is gone," said Pollack. "We heard folks loud and clear last year, and there will be no tents used for tournament play at the 2008 WSOP."
On July 2, and in conjunction with the WSOP, Oscar nominee Don Cheadle and poker professional Annie Duke will host the second annual Ante Up For Africa charity tournament at the Rio.
Last year’s AUFA event featured dozens of Hollywood celebrities and poker professionals and raised more than $700,000 for charity. Ante Up For Africa is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 by Cheadle, Duke and Norman Epstein and is dedicated to raising money, awareness for Africans in need.
July 3 is the first of four start days for the 2008 Main Event. Last year, a total of 6,358 entrants competed for a Main Event prize pool of $59.8 million. Players may choose their Main Event start dates as long as seats are available on the selected dates.