Harrah’s and the WSOP made the decision to host a Tournament of Champions at the 2010 World Series of Poker, and they asked for the public’s involvement through an open voting process to determine the majority of the players to participate. And after months of voting, it closed on June 15, and the results were released the following day. With Phil Ivey as the leading choice of poker fans, the 27-person TOC is now rounded out with some of the biggest, best, and certainly most popular names in the poker world.
Out of the 27 seats available for the 2010 TOC, there were 20 seats put up for the public voting. Each person interested in participating could vote once for 20 players out of all who had ever won a WSOP bracelet, and Harrah’s validated that process and determined that 355,081 people cast votes. The players with the most votes will be guaranteed their seats, pending confirmation of their availability and interest, are as follows:
|Phil Ivey ||(16,267 votes) |
|Daniel Negreanu ||(16,239 votes) |
|Doyle Brunson ||(13,796 votes) |
|Phil Hellmuth ||(12,673 votes) |
|Chris Ferguson ||(11,585 votes) |
|Allen Cunningham ||(10,486 votes) |
|Johnny Chan ||(10,434 votes) |
|Scotty Nguyen ||(9,834 votes) |
|Barry Greenstein ||(9,806 votes) |
|John Juanda ||(8,835 votes) |
|Erik Seidel ||(8,802 votes) |
|Jennifer Harman ||(8,206 votes) |
|Huck Seed ||(8,180 votes) |
|Dan Harrington ||(7,342 votes) |
|T.J. Cloutier ||(6,281 votes) |
|Sammy Farha ||(6,085 votes) |
|Howard Lederer ||(5,596 votes) |
|Greg Raymer ||(5,404 votes) |
|Joe Hachem ||(5,272 votes) |
|Antonio Esfandiari ||(5,129 votes) |
Those players will be joined by five who received automatic entries: 2004 TOC winner Annie Duke, 2005 TOC winner Mike Matusow, 2006 TOC winner Mike Sexton, 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada, and 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event champion Barry Shulman. There were two more seats up for grabs, one of which was available to the WSOP Academy, who chose nine players it felt worthy of the opportunity and allowed them to play a sit n go for the seat. The result of that event was that Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier won and solidified a spot at the table. The other exemption was given to WSOP.com, and the UK qualifier was Andrew Barton. Not much is known about the man except he is reportedly a 33-year old collections driver from Dudley, England.
All 27 players are now scheduled to begin their $1 million freeroll tournament on Sunday, June 27 at noon, somewhere in the Rio Convention Center. They will play four one-hour levels, and the remaining field will return the following day to continue through another four levels. Anyone still in the field will then take a hiatus until Sunday, July 4, at which point they will play until a winner is decided. All of the action will be filmed by ESPN for a two-hour broadcast on U.S. television on Tuesday, August 3.
Players will be competing for a total prize pool of $1 million, $500K of which will be awarded the winner. The second place finisher will take $250K, third place $100K, and each of the other final tablists will win $25K. The winner will also receive the title of 2010 TOC champion and likely win an entry into the following year’s tournament, should the WSOP choose to host another.
WSOP Vice President Ty Stewart commented, “We’re very pleased with the response to this new format. The selections show that poker has a mass fan base that is knowledgeable about the history of the World Series of Poker.”