The Advent of Poker

by , May 27, 2008 | 7:42 pm

A lot of us WSOP media veterans (this will be Pokerati’s 5th year in attendance, which I think is longer than any other blog) see the World Series as Christmas season for poker. Think about it … right now we’re at about Thanksgiving, and a month from now, the hardcore holidays begin — with the Gaming Expo and main event … and then time to celebrate a new poker year. (Will be a bit different this year, however, without a new champion to ring it in.) It really is pretty impressive when you realize that the WSOP is just another poker brand … and yet poker players all over the world get excited about it. The clicks and shuffles of chips begin this week, and that ever-pokery rattle and hum in the Amazon room won’t stop for nearly 1,100 hours.

What’s new for Pokerati this go-round is that we’re already here. Usually about this time, my personal scramble to get out of Dallas is just beginning, and I’m hoping to arrive before Event #10 while steering clear of the New Mexico and Arizona Highway 5-0. But having crossed the Hoover Dam nearly six months ago … I’m here … yippee. Not sure what to do with myself. I guess I’ll start by reading the official WSOP preview press release — which you can do, too, by clicking below:


Unprecedented Main Event Format, New Event Mix,

Player and Spectator Enhancements Set Tone for 39th Annual Battle for the Bracelets

LAS VEGAS, May 27, 2008 – Following a 2007 season in which records were broken seemingly every day, the 2008 World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light (WSOP) – and 39th annual – will  deliver a new set of historic firsts from the moment the cards are dealt this Friday.

The 2008 WSOP runs from May 30-July 14 and features 55 different bracelet events in almost every variation of poker. The 47-day extravaganza unfolds at the Rio® All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is annually the world’s richest and most prestigious gaming tournament.

In addition to offering a record number of new championships in various poker disciplines and at a range of buy-in levels, the 2008 WSOP will include a historic format change to the $10,000 World Championship of No-Limit Texas Hold’em – commonly referred to as the Main Event – as well as a wide range of improvements for players and fans alike.

The innovations will be on display beginning Day One. The inaugural 2008 bracelet event is a $10,000 World Championship of Pot-Limit Hold’em, the first of its kind at the WSOP. The tournament also marks the first time since the WSOP went to a multi-event format that it has opened with a $10,000 buy-in championship.

In all, the 2008 WSOP will feature 55 bracelet events, including an all-time high of eight $10,000 World Championships and 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.”

Perhaps the most notable innovation at the 2008 World Series of Poker will be a groundbreaking format change for the Main Event. For the first time in the WSOP’s 39-year history, the Final Table of the Main Event will be televised in primetime on ESPN the very same day that the WSOP World Champion receives their bracelet.

Once the final nine players of the Main Event are set on July 14, action will be suspended for 117 days. These players – to be known as the “November Nine” – will have an opportunity during that time to secure sponsors and coaches, study their opponents’ play and devise new playing strategies before reconvening at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Nov. 9 to compete for the most coveted prize in poker.

The Main Event winner will be determined in the early morning hours of Nov. 11 and, in a telecast first, ESPN will air its final table coverage that night beginning at 9:00 PM ET.

Amid these new and enhanced events will be a host of highly compelling player stories that develop during the six-week poker extravaganza. One of the most anticipated themes at the 2008 WSOP will be whether Phil Hellmuth, who won a record 11th gold bracelet at the 2007 WSOP, can further distance himself from the legendary duo of Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, or whether either of these 10-bracelet-winners can even the score with Hellmuth.

Fans will be equally interested to learn if the longest-ever winning streak for amateurs at the Main Event will continue for a seventh straight year and whether the unprecedented international participation – 87 countries were represented at the 2007 WSOP, and five countries were represented at the Main Event final table alone – will continue.

As spectators navigate a more spacious and comfortable event layout – tournament and satellite tables will be spread over five rooms, creating more space in each – they will have a first-hand opportunity to see if any of the following records established in 2007 will fall this year:

  • Most total entrants for all events: 54,288
  • Largest Prize Pool: $159,796,918
  • Largest Ladies World Championship: 1,286 players
  • Largest Seniors World Championship: 1,882 players
  • Largest $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E.: 148 players
  • Largest preliminary event prize pool: $7.1 million for $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E.
  • Largest preliminary event top prize: $2.2 million for $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E.
  • Largest Field of Players (non-Main Event): 2,998 for $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em
  • Oldest player to compete in a WSOP event: 94-year-old Jack Ury in Main Event
  • Youngest player to win a WSOP gold bracelet in the United States: Steve Billirakis – 21 years, 11 days – in $5,000 World Championship Mixed Hold’em Limit/No Limit

To enhance the overall player and spectator experience, a number of significant changes have been made to the WSOP tournament operations. In addition to spreading play over five rooms to reduce congestion and improve sight lines, other changes being instituted include:

  • To further safeguard the integrity of events – the most important consideration for all players – the WSOP has implemented a new Code of Player Conduct to more clearly define acceptable behavior during the course of the tournament and reinforce the penalties that will result from violations of the code;
  • Registration opens Wednesday, May 28, two days before the first bracelet event, to minimize lines;
  • The cage will be separated from tournament play to accommodate more guests, including a special area for Total Rewards Diamond and Seven Star members;
  • The payout area will be combined with the cage area to allow for expedited processing of player paperwork;
  • Separate entrances have been established for players and spectators, allowing both groups easier access to tournament areas;
  • A concierge service has been established for players to make hotel, restaurant, show, spa and transportation arrangements for any Harrah’s-operated property in Las Vegas;
  • No tournament action or poker play will be housed in tents of any kind;
  • Between national brand name chains and new options including sushi and a noodle bar, food service will be improved over previous years;
  • Expanded restroom facilities will be available throughout the Rio convention area;
  • Player information will be stored electronically to ensure quicker payouts to repeat winners.


The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2007, the event attracted more than 54,000 entrants from 87 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded just under $160 million in prize money as players competed for game’s most coveted trophy, a WSOP bracelet. Harrah’s License Company, LLC., an affiliate of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. has owned and operated the WSOP since 2004 and over the last four years, fostered an increase in player participation by nearly 300-percent. In addition, the WSOP has experienced groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker Europe. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit our website at


Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. is the world’s largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 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 and the World Series of Poker®. 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. For more information, please visit

Seth G. Palansky

Sports & Entertainment Director, Communications

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.

One Caesars Palace Drive, Las Vegas, NV. 89109-8969

12 Comments to “The Advent of Poker”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    For those who’ll actually be in Vegas, the following link may be helpful for you:

  2. Kevin Mathers

    Forgot to add these items, taken from Daniel Negreanu’s latest blog:

    Color Coded Time Clocks-remember last year looking over at a tournament clock and not having a clue what tournament it’s for? Well, this year the clocks will be color coded. So if you are in, say, the $1500 NL your clock may be purple, and if you are in the $2500 Omaha 8 it might be blue. Also, there are plasmas everywhere so you should never be in a spot where you can’t see one. Lastly, the table breaking order will also be posted on these clocks!

    Elevated Media Area- There is an elevated area for bloggers and media to cover the tournament. This is going to help make their job easier as they should be able to survey the whole room from where they are. Plus, while they are working they are out of the way.

  3. DanM

    ***Elevated Media Area***

    Damn, there goes my plan for smoking out in the media room while bitching about how PokerNews has better access. We haven’t even started and everything’s falling apart.

  4. Kevin Mathers


    I expect the bloggers to find something to bitch about to amuse their readers. There’s still plenty of time for that to happen.


  5. DanM

    Wow, Kevin, since you are so good at educating/correcting me, I’m thrilled at the opportunity to finally return the favor!

    ***Daniel Negreanu’s latest blog***

    It’s not his latest blog, it’s his latest post — unless, of course, he just started a new site with a new domain and everything. Don’t tell this to anybody though, OK … because this little simple matter of singular vs. plural is the edge we have over Poker Road those who want in on the blogging world but don’t really get it.

    Pokerati, for example, is a single blog (noun) … comprised of multiple posts. California Jen blogs here (verb). I do, too. But this is a comment on a post on a blog … but it’s not a comment on a blog on Pokerati. Pokerati is the blog. Singular. Make sense?

    Doyle Brunson has a blog, and thus he blogs. But his “latest blog” is not a specific post, it really is just “his blog.” You can call it his first blog, or his latest blog … doesn’t matter — because it’s all just a blog, and he’s only got one of ’em (even though it appears in multiple places).

    Now Pauly, by comparison, has multiple blogs (plural). Tao of Poker, Tao of Pauly, that Phish thing he does … you follow? But his most recent blog is not his most recent post on Tao of Poker, it’s actually — which he started in 2004. So really the problem in your comment isn’t your use of the word “blog,” but your use of the word “latest.”

    OK, sorry for my tangential rant here. But self-indulgent elitist tendencies are also a key component of blogging.

    Now if only I could get you to teach me about how fora really work.

  6. Kevin Mathers

    I stand corrected Dan. Now if I said “new blog entry”, is that sufficient?

  7. DanM

    Absolutely! You want a job?

  8. Kevin Mathers

    Do I get to make up a title?

  9. DanM

    Yes, but only if it’s good. I mean maybe.

  10. Kevin Mathers

    Make one up for me, and let’s see if I’d like it.

  11. DanM

    President? Emperor?

  12. Kevin Mathers


    I like to keep my aspirations a bit lower than that.