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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2007

Planning Under Way for Up to 10,000 Players at This Year’s Main Event

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With the start of the World Series less than twelve weeks away, Jeffrey Pollack, Commissioner of the World Series of Poker , led his management team in a Q&A teleconference for the poker media today, outlining operational improvements and an expanded schedule which will award 55 bracelets during the six-week World Series. In addition to Pollack, Howard Greenbaum (Harrah's Western Division Vice President of Specialty Gaming), Jack Effel (World Series of Poker Tournament Director), Gary Thompson (World Series of Poker Director of Communications and Operations), and Ty Stewart (World Series of Poker Director of Sponsorships and Licensing).

The most noticeable change for World Series players will be the expanded facilities, with 258 poker tables available for tournaments, satellites, or cash games. A portion of these will be housed in "...a poker superstructure to be housed adjacent to the Rio," said Pollack. Main Event planning scenarios are built around a 10,000 player model, with players split among these 258 tables over three days. "We do not know how many players will be at the Main Event, and let me be clear that the 10,000 number is simply being used for planning, said Pollack. "We will accommodate any number of players who enter the Main Event. Philosophically, the World Series is open to all."

Harrah's is addressing several key weaknesses of the 2006 World Series. A Dealer Certification is being launched for Las Vegas poker dealers. Once certified, a Harrah's dealer will be able to deal any game being played during the World Series. Additional dealers arriving at the World Series without certification will work mainly Hold-Em events and cash games. The supplies used during play are also being improved. United States Playing Card Company is the official supplier of cards during the World Series. "As part of this proposed agreement, every table of every World Series of Poker bracelet event will be supplied - every day - with a fresh setup of premier quality KEM cards from USPC," said Pollack. "Our players deserve the best and this is just one more example of how we are working hard to provide them with nothing less."

Online qualifiers, a key to the post-Moneymaker growth of the World Series, are on their own this year. "We are not accepting third-party registration except for those with licenses from us, including sponsors, other casinos, and charities," said Pollack. "I can't give any guidance how anyone else operates their business, but we can ensure that we are not taking third-party registrations from online sites."

The earlier schedule this year will deliver programming to ESPN, with a quicker production turnaround focused on broadcasting poker away from College Football toward the more wide-open July-September months." Player and writer Susie Isaacs discovered a refreshing change for every player taking their shot at one or two lower buy-in events: deeper stacks. "I'm going to tell you what you want to hear," said Effel. "We're doubling the starting chip counts for all events with a nice new structure. This gives players more play early in an event, something that we heard from players. We'll also be posting payout guidelines on the web." Satellites will be expanded from one-table SNG'S to two and three-table satellites with multiple winners.

Hershey's has signed on as the official chocolate of the World Series, a mainstream advertiser which is a breath of fresh air to the poker community. "Will we see more mainstream advertisers, and will media have free chocolate?" asked Amy Calistri. "Ty Stewart has a number of deals up his sleeve," said Pollack, "and you'll see more announcements in the coming weeks. And yes, the Media will be getting free chocolate. Ty and I will be there handing it out, and I'm not talking about the little snack kind. We'll have the Hershey's bars!"

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