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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008

2008 WSOP Smashes Records

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The following news release provides a look at the explosive growth of poker and interesting facts pertaining to the WSOP.  Graciously provided by Seth Palansky, please enjoy:

By Every Measure, 2008 World Series of Poker® Experiences Growth

Participants, Prize Pool, Ratings & Reach All Smash Records

From Afghanistan to Zambia, the World Series of Poker® touched all corners of the world in 2008 and, as a result, managed to expand its global reach and award a staggering $190,644,177 in prize money.

A record 125 different countries (more than the last Winter Olympics - 80) had participants in the World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light or World Series of Poker Europe Presented by Betfair in 2008, proving that unlike that other World Series, the “World” Series of Poker is truly a global game.   Only soccer’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics attract more countries to their competition…and those events are held just once every four years.

“The results this year demonstrate the increasing global appeal of our events and the universal recognition that winning a World Series of Poker gold bracelet is the game’s ultimate achievement,” said World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.

An increase in participating countries in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) was just one of many increases this year.  Here are some of the key metrics from the 39th World Series of Poker and the 2nd Annual World Series of Poker Europe:

•    125 – Number of different countries and territories with at least one participant in a WSOP event this year (up 44% from 87 in 2007)
•    1.94 – Television rating on ESPN for the two-hour telecast of WSOP Main Event on 11/11/08 (up 50% from 1.29 in 2007)
•    2.08 – Television rating for final hour of 11/11/08 Final Table telecast, marking the highest-rated WSOP program in more than four years (since 9/14/2004)
•    18% -- The increase in rating of the 2008 WSOP Final Table in comparison to the “Moneymaker” final table in 2003 (1.94 vs. 1.64)
•    38% -- The advantage in ratings the 2008 WSOP Final Table had over MLB’s 2008 regular season ratings average on ESPN (1.94 vs. 1.4)
•    49% -- The advantage in ratings the 2008 WSOP Final Table had over the NBA’s 2007-08 regular season ratings average on TNT and ESPN (1.94 vs. 1.3)
•    59,767 – Number of entrants in 2008 World Series of Poker bracelet events in 2008 (up 4,856 or nearly 9% from 54,911 in 2007)
•    $190,644,177 – Total prize pool for 2008 WSOP and WSOPE (up 13% or $21,430,221 from 2007)
•    59 bracelet events – 55 in Las Vegas and 4 in London (up 1 from 58 in 2007)
•    40 – Number of bracelets won by entrants from the United States (68% of total bracelets awarded)
•    12 – The number of different countries winning bracelets in 2008 (Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, U.S.)
•    4 – Number of bracelets won by players from Denmark, the second-most of any country (Peter Eastgate, Jesper Hougaard (2) and Theo Jorgensen)
•    1 – Bracelets won by the country Afghanistan, after Sherkhan Farnood from Kabul, Afghanistan became the first-ever by winning Event #2 at WSOPE
•    $9,152,416 – 1st place prize won by Denmark’s Peter Eastgate for WSOP Main Event (up 11% or $902,416 from 2007)
•    $64,431,779 – WSOP Main Event prize pool (up $4,646,825 or 8% from $59,784,954 in 2007)
•    6,844 – Number of WSOP Main Event entrants who each paid $10,000 to enter (up 8% from 6,358 in 2007)
•    50 – Number of U.S. states that had an entrant cash in the WSOP, the first time in history all 50 states were represented and had a cash
•    10 – Number of Canadian provinces that had an entrant cash in the WSOP, the first time in history all 10 Canadian provinces were represented and had a cash
•    59 – Number of different countries that had at least one entrant cash
•    35% -- Percentage of chip leaders entering the final table who went on to win the bracelet (20 of 57) (Head’s up and shootout tournaments do not have traditional final tables)
•    3,929 – Number of entrants in a preliminary event, the largest live non-Main Event tournament field in poker history (up 25% from previous record 3,151 in 2007)
•    1 -- Entrants from Zambia, the first time this landlocked country in southern Africa sent someone to the World Series of Poker.

The 39th annual World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light began May 30, 2008 and ran through July 15 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas with 55 bracelet events. The Main Event, with four start dates to accommodate the large playing field, began on July 3 and took a 117-day break on July 15 and resumed on November 9 and 10, with a winner being declared on November 11.  The second annual World Series of Poker Europe Presented by Betfair took place in London, England from September 19 to October 3, 2008, with four bracelets being awarded.


The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light 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 2008, the event attracted more than 58,000 entrants from 124 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded over $180 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 five 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 EuropeSM. 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

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