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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP 2010 | WSOP Poker Potpourri

Tournament of Champions Announced for 2010 WSOP

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Several years had passed since the last Tournament of Champions was held at a World Series of Poker, and while fans requested that it be reinstated, the freeroll was a costly venture and left off the schedules in lieu of other big buy-in events. But wishes were granted, as it was announced on March 15 that there would be a 2010 Tournament of Champions at the WSOP in Las Vegas, and not only will it be filmed for broadcast on ESPN, but the majority of its participants will be chosen by the voting public.

The 2010 WSOP is set up to run from May 27 through July 17 at the Rio in Las Vegas, with 57 events scheduled, including the Player’s Championship 8-Game Mixed five-day tournament to be filmed for ESPN, as well as the Ante Up for Africa charity event and the No-Limit Hold’em Championship Main Event. There were several changes introduced for the Series, such as the use of the Pavilion room in addition to others to provide more space for poker action, and a new process for Main Event registration to try to prevent the rejection of players due to overcapacity.

But the biggest change was yet to come, as the Tournament of Champions announcement captured poker fans’ attention around the world. The $1 million event freeroll will begin on June 27 with 27 players, playing until only nine players remain. The $1 million prize pool will be distributed amongst the final table participants, with $25,000 each for fourth through ninth places, $100,000 for third place, $250,000 for second place, and $500,000 for the ultimate winner. That final table will be played out on July 4. All of the action from both days will be filmed by ESPN for a two-hour episode to air on August 3, 2010.

Even more interesting was the way in which the 27 players were to be chosen. Five of the players will be granted automatic entry to the tournament - previous TOC winners Annie Duke (2004), Mike Matusow (2005), and Mike Sexton (2006); reigning WSOP champion Joe Cada; and reigning WSOP Europe champion Barry Shulman. And two spots will be reserved for sponsor exemptions, with no details given yet as to how those players will be chosen.

The other 20 players will be selected through a public voting process at WSOP.com. All of the nominees have won a WSOP bracelet, meaning there are 521 people on the list, and the ones with the most votes at the end of voting will be asked to play in the Tournament of Champions. Anyone can vote on the nominees through a website process that began on March 15 and ends on June 15 at midnight. And in the first 24 hours of voting, it was reported that 40,722 votes were cast in that time period alone. The website lists the 50 players with the most votes, but they are in random order and there is no way for the public to know who is in the lead.

As for the TOC itself, Harrahs Interactive Entertainment Vice President Ty Stewart noted, “The Tournament of Champions brand has heritage in delivering the big moments. We’re thrilled to reinvent it around a model that should elevate the game by engaging millions of poker fans. We have received a lot of input from players and their affinity for the TOC, and we are excited for them and the fans and hope it’s here to stay.”

*You can cast your vote by going here.  PokerWorks Editor is in favor of voting up Chau Giang, if you agree, please make sure you vote for him...it's a shameless plug, deal with it*

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