39th annual World Series of Poker begins today at the Rio

May 30, 2008 7:46 PM

by Kevin Stott | The best poker players in the world have gathered in Las Vegas today for the start of the 39th annual World Series of Poker, a 47-day event that runs through July 14 and will reward 55 different players bracelets in every variation of poker in the world’s richest and most-prestigious gaming tournament.

The biggest change in the event comes in the form of its most-popular Main Event – the $10,000 World Championship of No-Limit Texas Hold’em – changing the date for its final table from July 16 until Nov. 9-10 in order to generate more interest in that extremely popular event which will televised in prime time for the first time ever. Players at that final table will be determined on July 14 and the Main Event winner will be determined in the early morning hours of Nov. 11 and, in a telecast first, ESPN will air final table coverage that night beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Last year, the event drew more than 54,000 entrants from 87 countries and awarded just under $160 million in prize money as players competed for the game’s most prestigious piece of jewelry – a WSOP bracelet. Last year, Jerry Yang, who had been playing poker for two years, won the big event. Yang qualified for the event by winning a $225 satellite tournament at Pechanga Casino in Southern California.

This year’s event will feature 55 bracelet winners, including an all-time high of eight $10,000 World Championships as well as eight $5,000 championships. Tournament organizers also have included eight $1,500 championships in the schedule to create the most diverse mix of bracelet events ever offered.

"If you’ve dreamed of becoming a WSOP champion, this is the year to enter," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "With 55 opportunities to win a bracelet, more $1,500 and $10,000 events than ever before, and same day television coverage of our Main Event Final Table, the WSOP stage has never been brighter."

Harrah’s, which has been operating the tournament for the last four years, has fostered an increase of nearly 300 percent in player participation since taking over.

For more information on the World Series of Poker or to check results, access their website at www.worldseriesofpoker.com. A list of all events in the WSOP appears here on our GamingToday website under our "Poker" section.