The 40th Annual World Series of Poker is going to be a an experience unlike those in its past, as celebrations of the 40th anniversary, new tournaments, and better structures will highlight the 2009 Series. While most of the set-up at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will remain the same, there will be a change to the somewhat controversial and always bustling Gaming Lifestyle Expo, which has been dubbed PokerPalooza for 2009.
By giving the Expo a new name and a primary focus on poker, PokerPalooza looks to be better organized than the Gaming Lifestyle Expos of years past. Previous events have proven to be a jumbled assortment of magazine booths, poker clothing and jewelry, and strip club advertisements. But this year, the “interactive zones” will be divided up for customers to more clearly navigate. The zones will be poker media, education, retail, circuit, WSOP history, food and beverage, and an arcade.
In addition, there will be the “Lap of Luxury” section to highlight some of the higher end vendors catering to the poker community, such as jewelry and cars, as well as the “Bad Beat Bar” where players can go to exchange bad beat stories from the World Series of Poker. A “Prop Bet” area will be available with various competitions and games for those in the poker business who enjoy a little side gambling. All will be accented with live entertainment throughout the venue, food and drinks, and photo opportunities.
It will all take place in the massive Rio Pavilion room in the convention area of the hotel, just down the hall from the Amazon Room and other dedicated WSOP spaces. And the dates will surround the end of the preliminary events and the beginning days of the $10K main event. Festivities will begin at 11am on Thursday, July 2nd and end at 6pm on Sunday, July 5th.
WSOP Director of Marketing Ty Stewart noted, “It’s going to be part trade show, part carnival, all fun.”
The Gaming Lifestyle Expo of 2008 brought over 50,000 players through its doors, though most people were required to walk through the area in order to get to the WSOP areas of the convention center. Nevertheless, the 165 booths in the sizable convention room boasted of a wide variety of products and services.
The PokerPalooza of 2009 looks to attract the same type of traffic, though it promises to be done in a more orderly fashion than in the past. With numerous WSOP champions and poker superstars, along with book authors and columnists, available for autographs and photo sessions, as well as a Mixed Martial Arts section and other new additions to the festivities, poker enthusiasts should be able to find anything and everything related to poker and gaming during those four days in early July.