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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009

More 2009 WSOP Details Released

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Less than one month from now, the 2009 World Series of Poker will get underway at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. And as it approaches, more details are being released about special events, tournament rules and structures, and ESPN tapings.

A WSOP conference call was held for members of the media, and it was hosted by WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, Communications Director Seth Palansky, Tournament Director Jack Effel, and ESPN representative Doug White. The four discussed quite a few aspects of the upcoming series before taking questions from reporters, and some of the information that was revealed was previously unreleased.

Pollack began with an emphasis on the fact that the 2009 festivities will mark the WSOP’s 40th anniversary, and several new events will mark the special year. First, it is the first event of the series, a $40,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event that will “bring out the best players in the world and produce a final table for the ages.”

Second was the announcement of the Champions Invitational. All past WSOP main event champions have been invited to play in the Invitational tournament for prizes that include a restored classic 1970 red Corvette and the Binion Cup. The new commemorative cup “will honor our heritage.” Pollack continued, “I’m proud to say that Jack Binion himself, poker’s patriarch, will be on hand to present that trophy.”

Another interesting turn of events was Pollack’s reveal of the new selection and voting process for future Poker Hall of Fame inductees. As more names will be added to the 37-person Hall of Fame this year, the process will now begin on May 26 and run through July 2, during which time the general public will be able to submit nominations on the WSOP website. During the main event at the Rio this summer, the top ten nominees will be announced, then submitted to the Hall of Fame committee, which will review the nominations, adjust as needed, and come up with the final list of nominees. The final ballot will be sent to the 16 living members of the Hall of Fame for their private votes, and a select group of media representatives which has yet to be chosen will also be allowed to vote. Anyone who receives at least 75% of the vote will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in November at the WSOP main event final table.

With relation to bracelet winners at the 2009 WSOP, there will be a special ceremony surrounding those winners as well. In fact, there will be a daily ceremony in the Amazon ballroom each day at 2pm to honor the winners from the day or night before. Pollack noted, “The World Series of Poker gold bracelet is poker’s crown jewel, and for some time, I’ve felt that every bracelet, not just the main event bracelet, deserves a special ceremony.”

And speaking of the main event, more details were released about the November final table. The weekend in November will be more drawn out than in 2008, as the initial play will take place on Saturday, November 7th, at which point the final nine will play down to only two remaining players. There will be several days off for activities yet to be announced, and the two will then play for the victory and the bracelet on Tuesday, November 10th. The live audience will be in place for all aspects of the November final table, and ESPN will then broadcast the final table on November 11th.

Regarding rules and the player code of conduct for the 2009 WSOP, Pollack noted that that player code of conduct is actually part of the official rules this year, all of which can be found on the WSOP website. In addition, there will be a written and constantly-updated log of all warnings and penalties as the WSOP progresses. “The intent here is simple,” Pollack said, “work to better insure that the tournament floor is a civil, courteous, and comfortable environment for all players, better manage those players who break the rules of engagement or fail to conduct themselves appropriately, and further protect the competitive integrity of the WSOP. Our officials will be watching, tracking, and enforcing like never before.”

That led to Effel taking over to discuss the issue of penalties further. Each time a player commits an infraction, the supervisor will radio it to a “central station” where everything will be documented. That will allow the staff to issue appropriate penalties based on past history. Depending on the record of the player and the nature of the infraction, tournament staff can issue anything from a verbal warning, one-hand penalty, one-round penalty, two-round penalty, three-round penalty, etc., all the way up to disqualification and expulsion if necessary. It was noted in the question and answer period later that Phil Hellmuth’s antics in the 2008 WSOP main event inspired the need for change to the system, as there were some inconsistencies in the rulings that were duly noted by Pollack and others at the time.

Effel then went on to speak of the special events, including the opening weekend $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em Stimulus Special, for which they expect to see 5,000 or 6,000 players and will have the largest prize pool in a live tournament for a $1K buy-in. He also reiterated that there will be no rebuy tournaments, though some tournaments will be structured in such a way that players will be given a portion of their chips to start the tournament and can then opt to receive more of their chips during the beginning of play or the rest of their chips at the end of the add-on period.

With regard to the structure of the tournaments, each event will allow players to start with three times the starting chips, meaning the main event players will receive 30,000 chips when they begin play. In addition, while most structures stayed the same as last year only with deeper stacks, some tournaments will see added levels, giving competitors even more play. “So players will now feel the effect early on in the tournament, have a better chance to make decisions, and hopefully, it will help the better players make it through the events,” Effel said. “It will always reward best play.”

He also noted that there will be some positive changes to the payouts in 2009, wherein more players receive more money, and the players who finish early in the money will make between 1.75 and 2 times the buy-in back. He is working with a team to finalize those plans now, as they hope to be able to pay more places in some of the events.

Effel went on to discuss dealer and staff training, as many dealers are returning from last year but every one dealing a WSOP this year will be experienced and well-versed in all games - from seven-card stud hi-lo split to deuce-to-seven triple draw. And the tournament staff is going through an extensive four-day training class prior to the start of the WSOP to make sure they understand the rules and how to enforce them.

Before Effel relinquished the proverbial floor, he noted that there will be more tables in the Amazon Room this year, as organizers are planning for 306 of them in that room alone. The Brazilia Room will have 95, as compared to the 65 of last year, and the Miranda Room will contain 56 tables. Also, the Tropical Room looks to offer 48 tables, and possibly more if demand requires, for satellites, as compared to only 23 last year. And as far as the cash game area, it will be more spacious with more tables and offer any game that players would like spread.

Finally, Doug White of ESPN took to the conference call to explain the television taping schedule for the year. The primary focus of the broadcasts will be on the main event, as 24 hours will be dedicated to the main event with two - possibly two and a half - hours for the final table in November alone. The only other events to be covered will be the $40,000 NLHE event, Champions Invitational, and the Ante Up for Africa charity tournament, all of which will receive a combined six hours of programming. It was noted that viewership seemed to be down for non-NLHE events, and the focus this year would be on NLHE only.

With that, the question and answer period of the call lasted for quite some time and only expanded somewhat on the topics already discussed.

The excitement in the voices of the WSOP executives and ESPN representative was unmistakable, as they are anxious to get the 40th anniversary of the WSOP underway in May. With that, let’s leave you with the previously-released schedule of events for your planning pleasure:

May 26 - Registration opens, live action and satellites begin.
May 27 - Event 1: $500 Casino Employees NLHE (2-day)
May 28 - Event 2: $40K 40th Annual NLHE (4-day)
May 29 - Event 3: $1500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split-8
May 30 - Event 4: $1000 NLHE, Day 1A (4-day)
May 31 - Event 4: $1000 NLHE, Day 1B
June 1 - Event 5: $1500 PLO
June 1 - Event 6: $10K World Championship Seven-Card Stud
June 2 - Event 7: $1500 NLHE
June 2 - Event 8: $2500 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball
June 3 - Event 9: $1500 NLHE Six-Handed
June 3 - Event 10: $2500 PLHE/PLO
June 4 - Event 11: $2000 NLHE
June 4 - Event 12: $10K World Championship Mixed (LHE, Omaha Hi-Low Split-8, Seven-Card Razz, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8, NLHE, PLO, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball)
June 5 - Event 13: $2500 NLHE
June 5 - Event 14: $2500 LHE Six-Handed
June 6 - Event 15: $5000 NLHE
June 6 - Event 16: $1500 Seven-Card Stud
June 7 - Event 17: $1000 World Championship Ladies NLHE
June 7 - Event 18: $10K World Championship Omaha Hi-Low Split-8
June 8 - Event 19: $2500 NLHE Six-Handed
June 9 - Event 20: $1500 PLHE
June 9 - Event 21: $3000 HORSE
June 10 - Event 22: $1500 NLHE Shootout, 1,000-player max
June 10 - Event 23: $10K World Championship NL 2-7 Draw Lowball
June 11 - Event 24: $1500 NLHE
June 11 - Event 25: $2500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8
June 12 - Event 26: $1500 LHE
June 12 - Event 27: $5000 PLO Hi-Low Split-8
June 13 - Event 28: $1500 NLHE
June 13 - Event 29: $10K World Championship NLHE Heads-up, 256-player max
June 14 - Event 30: $2500 PLO
June 14 - Event 31: $1500 HORSE
June 15 - Event 32: $2000 NLHE
June 15 - Event 33: $10K World Championship LHE
June 16 - Event 34: $1500 NLHE
June 17 - Event 35: $5000 PLO
June 18 - Event 36: $2000 NLHE
June 18 - Event 37: $10K World Championship Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8
June 19 - Event 38: $2000 LHE
June 20 - Event 39: $1500 NLHE
June 20 - Event 40: $10K World Championship PLO
June 21 - Event 41: $5000 NLHE Shootout, 1000-player max
June 21 - Event 42: $2500 Mixed (LHE, Omaha-Hi-Low Split-8, Seven-Card Razz, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8, NLHE, PLO, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball)
June 22 - Event 43: $1000 World Championship Seniors NLHE
June 22 - Event 44: $2500 Seven-Card Razz
June 23 - Event 45: $10K World Championship PLHE
June 23 - Event 46: $2500 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8
June 24 - Event 47: $2500 Mixed Hold’em
June 25 - Event 48: $1500 PLO Hi-Low Split-8
June 26 - Event 49: $50K World Championship HORSE (5-day)
June 26 - Event 50: $1500 LHE Shootout, 1000-player max
June 27 - Event 51: $1500 NLHE
June 28 - Event 52: $3000 Triple-Chance NLHE
June 28 - Event 53: $1500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8
June 29 - Event 54: $1500 NLHE
June 29 - Event 55: $2500 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball
June 30 - Event 56: $5000 NLHE Six-Handed
July 3 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 1A (multiple days)
July 4 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 1B
July 5 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 1C
July 6 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 1D
July 7 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 2A
July 8 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 2B
July 10 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 3
July 11 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 4
July 12 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 5
July 13 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 6
July 14 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 7
July 15 - Event 57: $10K World Championship NLHE, Day 8

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