Las Vegas – It began in 1970, when a handful of road gamblers gathered together to play a little poker and renew old acquaintances.
Over the years, the competition and social aspects have grown ever stronger, as the World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light has evolved into an annual quest for fame and fortune for tens of thousands of poker enthusiasts from more than 50 countries.
Today, the 2007 edition of the World Series of Poker – the planet’s longest-running, most prestigious and richest poker and gaming competition – gets under way with what Jeffrey Pollack, WSOP Commissioner, termed „the best schedule and widest range of events in the tournament’s storied history.“
„Over the next 47 days, the global poker community will gather at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino® to compete for the richest prize pool in sports, showcase their talents and rub elbows with some of the biggest names in poker, sports and show business,“ Pollack said. „All will be competing for the highly coveted and cherished World Series of Poker bracelet.“
This year’s bracelets – by far the most expensive to produce in the tournament’s 38-year history – are made by CORUM, the luxury Swiss watchmaker that also produces the Official Timepieces of the WSOP.
For three of poker’s best-known players, the competition for those new bracelets will be especially intense. Poker professionals Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth have each won a record 10 WSOP bracelets in their careers, and each is eager to be the first to capture No. 11.
„The new bracelets aren’t the only enhancements players and spectators will find at this year’s WSOP,“ Pollack said. „We’ve worked with ESPN and Milwaukee’s Best Light to design a spectacular new Final Table stage that befits the stature of the WSOP.“ ESPN will also again provide live pay-per-view coverage of the Main Event Final Table this year, enabling poker fans to watch the action unfold in real time.
„We’re very excited that for the first time ever, every ESPN telecast will be in high definition on ESPN HD,“ Pollack said. ESPN will document play with 40 cameras, up from 26 last year, and its telecasts will include four additional hours coverage of the $ 10,000 buy-in Main Event and four additional hours of the $ 50,000 buy-in HORSE championship. ESPN‘s coverage of the 2007 WSOP will begin July 10 and continue for two hours each Tuesday night through October 30 except for July 24.
In another first, poker fans will be able to watch tape-delayed hole-card coverage of final-table play for 10 other bracelet events and get real-time chip-count and results updates for all events on www.worldseriesofpoker.com, thanks to a new digital publishing alliance with Bluff Media, which will also provide radio coverage of WSOP events every day on Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as on selected terrestrial radio outlets.
Working closely with the professionals and amateurs on its ground-breaking Players Advisory Council, the WSOP has developed a new tournament structure that offers even more play in the critical stages of each event. Players will start with tournament chips equal to twice the buy-in for each event, and blind levels will increase at a pace that will allow competitors more opportunities to use their skills.
When they do make it into the money, most players will receive a higher percentage of the prize pools than in past years due to changes designed to make the payout structures more favorable for the greatest number of players.
This year’s edition of the WSOP will also feature a VIP Lounge for players who make a tax-deductible $ 1,000 contribution to the Nevada Cancer Institute, the Official Community Relations partner of the WSOP. Contributors will have a chance to relax in the lounge and enjoy free food, beverages, entertainment options and special parking privileges.
In another charitable initiative, the WSOP will be site of the star-studded Ante Up For Africa tournament on July 5. Hosted by Oscar nominee Don Cheadle and poker pro Annie Duke, the event will feature Hollywood celebrities and top poker professionals competing in a tournament designed to raise public awareness about and money for victims of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Details about the event, which is open to anyone, and how to participate are at www.worldseriesofpoker.com/anteup/anteup.pdf and www.anteupforafrica.org.
WSOP participants will enjoy a new Official Tournament Playing card from The U.S. Playing Card Company. In another first for the WSOP, every day every table of every bracelet event will start with a new setup of cards made of USPC‘s KEM stock, widely considered the finest playing-card stock in the world.
All employees dealing those cards, along with the tournament staff supervising the 2007 WSOP, have undergone extensive, rigorous training designed to enhance the customer experience.
Players will also find more live-action games and a special high-limit cash-game area with special seating and security. The WSOP Food Court inside the Rio convention area directly across from the Amazon Room will offer an enhanced menu this year.
„Our promise each year is to do better than we did the year before,“ said Pollack. „This will be the best World Series of Poker ever, and I’m confident that our players, fans, and sponsors will experience a new level of outstanding customer service.“
The 2007 World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light will begin June 1 at the Rio® All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. More information on the tournament is available at www.worldseriesofpoker.com.
The WSOP is operated by a subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.. Harrah’s is the world’s largest provider of branded casino entertainment through its operating subsidiaries. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, nearly 70 years ago, Harrah’s has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions, and now owns or manages casinos on four continents. The company’s properties operate primarily under the Harrah’s®, Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names; Harrah’s also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos. Harrah’s Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.