Now that the 2007 World Series of Poker is drawing to a close, it's time to look forward to what comes next for the game's grandest tournament.
First, it's a hop over the pond as the first ever World Series of Poker Europe takes place in London from Sept. 6-16. The WSOPE will take place at The Casino at The Empire in the heart of London's West End.
Three WSOP bracelets will be awarded, and WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack has said that the jewelry will carry the same weight as the bracelets awarded this summer in Las Vegas. "We will consider these bracelets numbers 56, 57 and 58 for this year's World Series of Poker," he said at the annual pre-main event press conference.
The list of events and dates at WSOPE will include the following:
Sept. 6-8 -- $5,000 HORSE
Sept. 8-9 -- $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
Sept. 10-16 -- $20,000 No-Limit Hold'em
Tournament organizers are estimating prize pools at $15 million, with the winner of the main event taking home at least $3 million.
As for next year's WSOP, you can be sure that the tournaments will continue more of the mixed game flair that we saw this year with the addition of several SHOE and HORSE events and mixed limit/no limit hold'em and stud/Omaha tournaments. The outcry by many after what Daniel Negreanu dubbed "The World Series of Hold'em" in 2006 will probably prevent another such bland Series.
Pollack said that he and other personnel will look at this year's event to make sure that they provided a good experience for the people who played in them. This year featured a record number of bracelet events.
"The decision may be made that 55 [events] isn't the right number," he said. "Next year, 50 may be the number."
Pollack told me in an interview Saturday that he's now working on a new blueprint for the WSOP. He said the "tent" was not well received and indicated that it is likely to be scrapped next year and additional space will be used somewhere else in the Rio. While he was adamant in saying that the Rio will continue to host the Series, Pollack indicated that the actual location of the WSOP in 2009 could be moved to another place in the building.
"I'm confident that in 2009 we will have an entirely new footprint for the World Series of Poker and I'm confident that next year, 2008, will be the last year we play in the Amazon ballroom as our principal tournament area," he said.
Pollack said that the WSOP Circuit Events will probably continue in the same locations and frequencies. He doesn't foresee adding any more or changing the buy ins for the main event of each from the current $5,000 figure, except for allowing casinos to change it to cater to customer demands.
"I think we will continue to better position them as local and regional tournaments so my sense is that the main event buy in will stay at $5,000, but we may allow properties to customize their events a bit more to fit their local market," he said.