World Series of Poker taking entries

Mar 31, 2009 5:07 PM
The Inside Straight by Joe Awada |

Players should pre-register to avoid shutout

Although still two months away, pre-registration for the 2009 World Series of Poker that kicks off May 27 is now open.

Players can pre-register online at worldseriesofpoker.com or in person at the main cage of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, host property for the World Series.

WSOP officials noted that capacity for all events is limited, and that once an event’s maximum attendance is reached, it will be closed and declared a sellout.

"As now customary, no alternates will be seated at the 2009 World Series of Poker," said Jack Effel, WSOP tournament director. "We encourage players to pre-register early to guarantee their seats."

Indeed, many players last year were "shut out" of events because space ran out.

In the past, World Series events continued to take entries and simply added tables – often times in a tent-like structure outside the Rio main event room – to accommodate overflow crowds. But that’s no longer the case.

And despite a slumping economy that has impacted casinos throughout the country, WSOP officials expect a record number of entries in this year’s tournament.

Last year’s World Series attracted the most entries ever (58,720) from the most countries ever (124) and paid out the largest prize pool ever awarded ($180M).

And as we reported in GamingToday last week, Las Vegas poker rooms haven’t had the drop-off in players as other sections of the casino have reported.

Moreover, recent and ongoing Vegas tourneys, such as the ones held at The Venetian, Caesars Palace, Wynn Las Vegas and the Bellagio (in April), suggest the popularity of tournaments is still strong.

The 40th edition of the World Series of Poker is scheduled for May 27-July 15. Buy-ins for open events range from $1,000 to $50,000.

Since last year’s tournament, the World Series has made some changes, eliminating some events and adding a few others. Most important for players, the WSOP increased the number of bracelet events from 55 to 57, and increased by two (from 37 to 39) the number of events with a buy-in of $2,500 or less.

On the opening weekend, the World Series will host a commemorative $40,000 buy-in Hold’em event to celebrate the tournament’s 40th anniversary.

There will also be a special $1,000 "Stimulus" No Limit Hold’em event held on Day 2, which replaces the $1,500 event last year that drew nearly 4,000 entrants.

Other announced changes include elimination of all five re-buy events, and the addition of two $10,000 world championship events (there were eight last year).

Perhaps the biggest news is that Harrah’s has elected to retain the main event’s delayed final table, which will once again be contested four months after the World Series ends, Nov. 7-10.

Although many players questioned delaying the final table, Harrah’s said the move more than doubled the ratings on ESPN compared to the previous year.

Dating back to 1970, the World Series of Poker is the largest, richest and longest running poker tournament in the world.

Harrah’s Entertainment has owned and operated the WSOP since 2004.

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