The World Series of Poker’s $10,000 main event kicks off Friday, and if the lead-up is any indicator, there will be a record number of entries.
Last year, 6,844 players anted up the $10,000 buy-in and when the dust finally settled in November, Peter Eastgate had won the WSOP trophy and $9.1 million first place award.
The field is expected to be so large, it will again be broken into four "Day 1" sessions, beginning Friday, July 3 and continuing through Monday, July 6.
There will be two "Day 2" sessions, followed by eight days of intense poker action, which will produce a final table of nine players on Wednesday, July 15.
Like last season, those nine players then get a four-month respite before returning to the Rio on Nov. 7, when they will play down to the final two.
Heads-up play for all the cabbage will take place on Nov. 10 and, obviously, they’ll play until there’s a last man (or woman) standing.
The events leading up to the finale have certainly been intense in their own right. Last Friday, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event actually sold out when the roster swelled to 2,790 players.
The same was expected for Monday’s $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, the last one of its kind for the season.
There’s still poker to be played, however, at the World Series. While players are fighting for their lives during the main event, there will be a "team poker" event taking place, July 12-13.
Dream Team Poker will host a tournament at the World Series, with a buy-in of $500 + $60 per player ($1,680 per team). The first 300 teams that pre-register on www.dreamteampoker.com will receive personalized jerseys for the tournament.
"After seeing the terrific response to the recent Dream Team Poker tournaments in Las Vegas, we thought a team-based event would be a fun addition to the end of the WSOP," said Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP commissioner. "The Dream Team Poker event is one of the many new elements added that will help make this summer a memorable one for all WSOP players and fans."
Dream Team Poker has gained traction and seen significant growth in the past six months alone. The speed of progression that Dream Team Poker experienced can be attributed to the two successful events held in November 2008 and March 2009.
The invitation-only opening event was sold-out within weeks and was attended by top pros and celebrities. The most recent event at Caesars Palace garnered record attention from the media, professionals and average players, who turned out by the dozens to play. The tournament sold out the Caesars poker room with 148 teams and 444 players.
"The WSOP and the Rio have really shown their commitment to the players in continuing to innovate and try new concepts," said Daniel Delshad, CEO of Dream Team Gaming. "Bringing our brand to the Rio during the WSOP and onto the most hallowed ground in the sport is a powerful way to introduce Dream Team Poker to the world."
Dream Team Poker brings a new layer of competition and strategy to the game of poker while providing team-based and individual prize pools for the players.
Dream Team Poker will have a booth outside of the Amazon Room throughout the World Series of Poker. Staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the tournament and to explain the rules and structure.