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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | The Works

2008 World Series Of Poker Set To Kick Off

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It is that time of the year where the poker playing community gathers in Vegas. Over the next two months, there will be drama... both on and off the tables as professionals and amateurs strive for that one elusive goal every poker player dreams of – a World Series of Poker bracelet. Satellites have already gotten underway and play will start on Friday with a $10,000 Pot Limit Hold Em event. The real crowd will come in the next day though when the first $1,500 NLHE event kicks off. Demand for this event is expected to be so high that WSOP organizers have scheduled it for four days. That is just the first of many changes the WSOP will be introducing this year.

Taking a walk through the Rio today, I couldn't help but be impressed by the numerous additions that have been added to the WSOP venue. Apparently, Harrah's decided poker players (and me) weren’t fat enough as numerous food vendors dot the landscape. One of the complaints over the past few years has been the lack of choices available. Players will now have a choice between an improved Poker Kitchen, mini pizzas from Pizza Hut, premium sandwiches, a sushi and noodle kitchen, and the most evil thing in history... a Krispy Kreme stand. The price for one donut? $2. Fat isn't cheap.

The setup is also different. Satellites are no longer ran in the main tournament area, they have been moved across the hall into their own separate area. A great move that was a long time coming. Tournament registration is now outside of the main tournament area, a move that should help remove some of the massive clutter that would take place as players waited in line. In addition, there are now separate entrances for players and spectators which will make it easier for players to make their way back to their table.

The main tournament area is still massive. I am always in awe when I walk into that room for the first time and see hundreds of poker tables lined up. Another new thing they have done is color coded the table signs to make it easier to find your table. A new elevated media area will give members of the media more immediate access. There is a new huge photo of last year’s Main Event winner, Jerry Yang, adorning the Wall of Fame.

The Series will take place over 47 days and will consist of 55 different events. The $10,000 Pot Limit Hold Em event that is kicking off the Series is the first time in WSOP history that it has opened with a buy in of this amount. This is a move that likely will have many of the big name professionals coming in a day or two early. The biggest change and the one that everyone is talking about is the delayed final table of the Main Event. Once they reach nine players, play will be stopped and will not resume until mid November. It's a controversial, risky decision and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Last year we had the drama of Vinnie Vinh and his missing chair and Eskimo Clark and his health issues. Celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Kevin Smith, Nelly, Ray Romano, and Montel Williams took part in the action. Phil Hellmuth won his 11th bracelet and made sure everyone in the world knew about it. The great thing about the WSOP is that something dramatic is just right around the corner. There will be something shocking that happens this year. There will be some unknown player who emerges from out of nowhere to become the next poker superstar. There will be tears... both happy and sad. One thing for sure that there will be plenty of is bad beat stories, people walking down the hall talking to their buddy or wife complaining about the two outer that took them out.

For a poker player or fan, it doesn't get any more exciting than this. PokerWorks will be bringing you extensive coverage of everything that goes on over the course of the next seven weeks. We'll bring you the highlights... the lowlights... and everything in between.

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