WSOP officials have confirmed that what was hinted at last week, is, in fact, a reality. That confirmation is that the first-ever World Series of Poker event will be held in Italy at the Casino di Campione from September 16th-30th. Along with that confirmation by WSOP officials, two others have also been confirmed to bring WSOP-branded events to casinos in other parts of the world instead of restricting them to North America. Along with the stop in Italy, casinos in Morocco and Mexico have reached agreements with the WSOP.
"It’s time to emphasize the 'World' in World Series of Poker and more aggressively partner with leading casino operators at the regional level," said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. "We know players crave a WSOP-like experience in their home market and believe our organizational expertise and unique tournament formats will bring a winning formula."
The casinos that are aligned with the WSOP's expansion will have rights in their exclusive territory to not only host WSOP Circuit events but will also be able to host satellite qualifiers year-round into WSOP Europe and WSOP Las Vegas events.
At this time there are 20 stops in the United States on the WSOP Circuit tour. After adding the international field to the 2015-2016 season the poker world can expect a "true world casino championship to take place in 2016." Next season's National Championship will find it defined as a"2016 WSOP International Casino Championship" — the U.S. Circuit and International WSOP Circuit events will fight it out then.
Marrakesh, Morocco from March 7th-15th, at Casino de Marrakesh Es Saadi is the setting of the first of the new stops. Look for eight official ring events along with action-packed side events in the first international WSOP Circuit event. The winner of the Main Event will not only take home all the glory and the cash, along with a ring, but will also receive a seat in the 2016 WSOP International Casino Championship — as will the Casino Champion.
The Casino Campione D’Italia in Italy will feature their own WSOP Circuit event in September. Once the dates and schedules have been settled, expect an announcement to hit the news. Casino Campione will be able to offer satellites to the 2015 WSOP Europe and WSOP Las Vegas as part of the casino's exclusive land-based WSOP rights in Italy.
Mexico's Casino Jubilee de Monterrey has the honor of initiating the first International signature WSOP Poker Room — outside of the Caesars properties. The first WSOP Circuit stop is expected to be held at the Casino Jubilee de Monterrey in 2016. Former WSOP champions will make appearances and merchandise will be available for sale, along with themed tournaments.
"One thing that was clear to me from my time spent in the poker industry is that the passion for poker is ever-present, but players crave value, excitement and superior organization," said WSOP Director Gregory Chochon. "These new agreements will allow us to offer meaningful year-round benefits to our casino partners while giving poker players a more direct path to reach the ultimate WSOP dream."
Discussions are on the table with close to a dozen other casino groups interested in bringing WSOP events to their tables, look for more announcements soon on the growing expansion.