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Poker News | Online Poker | News

PokerStars policy for WSOP seats

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It's been a question for months - how will sites get people registered for their WSOP seats this year? As you may recall, Harrah's announced earlier this year that they will no longer be accepting third-party registrations for the World Series of Poker, to be held June 1 - July 17th at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. While Harrah's press machine claims that this policy has been in place for three years now, it was obviously not enforced for last year's Main Event, where online qualifiers accounted for a significant portion of the over 8,000 participants. PokerStars alone sent over 1500 people to the Main Event last year.

Well, the question has finally been answered, thanks to Dan over at Pokerati. According to a Pokerati reader, PokerStars is depositing the $10,000 buy-in directly into the players' accounts, leaving them to figure out how to withdraw the money and giving them instructions on how to register with Harrah's. Below is the text of an email sent to a WSOP ME seat winner on PokerStars.

First and foremost, congratulations on winning a seat to the 2007 World Series of Poker* on PokerStars! Winning your buy-in is a tremendous accomplishment. This e-mail contains very important information regarding World Series buy-in procedures. Please read this e-mail carefully.

PokerStars staff members have worked tirelessly for several months in an attempt to directly buy-in PokerStars' World Series qualifiers to the Main Event. Unfortunately, Harrah's policy refuses third-party registrations. With that in mind, by tomorrow morning we will deposit your $10,000 buy-in into your PokerStars account.

When you wish to cash out the $10,000 please email We have set up this email specifically to expedite the cash out requests for all World Series qualifiers.

While it was our intention to arrange hotel accommodations as we have in the past, we are now unable to handle these arrangements. However, we will still pay you the $1,000 in lieu of accommodation if you wear PokerStars clothing exclusively (note that all FPP qualifiers are obliged to wear PokerStars clothing). We will send you an email nearer the time with instructions on how to pick up your player bag, where after the $1,000 towards accommodation will be deposited into your PokerStars account. If you're still playing in the main event on July 11th, we'll deposit another $1,000 towards your additional expenses.

It is now your responsibility to buy-in to the Main Event, and to arrange for your own travel and accommodations. All of us at PokerStars sincerely regret any inconvenience that this may cause.

Directions on how to register for the Main Event and information on special room rates follow in the email. The question that this poses is obviously "How many people will actually register for the Main Event?" Phil Gordon asked the very same thing on his ESPN Poker Edge podcast months ago, wondering how many average players would really take the money to the Rio and register, or would your average player take the cash and use it for other things?

I think this policy will result in a sever decline of WSOP attendees, already facing a decrease in numbers from the UIGEA-inspired reduction of US-facing poker rooms. Your average 40-hour-a-week sales manager from North Carolina, if faced with the choice of having $10,000 in hand to fix up the house or flying to Vegas (travel arrangements now NOT covered by the poker site) and playing in the WSOP Main Event would most likely choose the cash and a new heat pump. But maybe I'm the exception rather than the rule.

I do, however, disagree with Gordon's statement from that same podcast that we'll see a return to "pre-Moneymaker" numbers in the Main Event, but I would lay better than even money that the total number of players dives back down under 6,000. But in the meantime, for your shot at WSOP greatness (or a new heat pump), check out FullTiltPoker and PokerStars, both sites are running satellites all day, every day.

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