LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The 40th annual World Series of Poker® (WSOP®) -- a set of poker tournaments open to anyone 21 years of age or older -- will commence Wednesday, May 27 with the first of 57 gold bracelet events, and the next day a special $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament will commemorate the gaming industry's most illustrious event.
The annual poker extravaganza, which dates back to 1970, is televised exclusively on ESPN from the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and consists of a comprehensive slate of the game's most popular variations.
The 40th annual WSOP will conclude with the $10,000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Hold'em Main Event which begins play Friday, July 3, 2009 and reaches its final table (nine players) on July 15, 2009, at which time play will be halted. The famed tournament's culmination will be held with the "November Nine" from November 7-10, 2009, before a live audience with special primetime coverage from ESPN.
The landmark WSOP comes on the heels of a record year in 2008, when the WSOP generated the most entries ever (58,720) from the most countries ever (124) that competed for the largest prize pool ever ($180,774,427) while awarding 55 championship gold bracelets, globally recognized as the sport's top prize.
Among the highlights of the 2009 schedule:
• 57 gold bracelet events over 50 days.
• A "stimulus special" $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament on the opening weekend, May 30-31, 2009, which is anticipated to draw the largest-ever live tournament field outside the Main Event and offer a prize pool approaching $5,000,000.
• 10 "World Championship" $10,000 buy-in events ("World Championship" refers to tournaments with a buy-in of $10,000 in each of the various disciplines of poker).
• The third annual $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament, with an enhanced gold bracelet and the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy awarded to the winner.
• A one-time commemorative gold bracelet event, a $40,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament to help mark the 40th annual WSOP on Thursday, May 28, 2009.
• Seven open $1500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournaments, the most popular events in poker.
• The 3rd annual Ante Up For Africa $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em celebrity and charity tournament on Thursday, July 2, 2009, (the day before the Main Event begins) featuring the opportunity for anyone age 21 or older to enter and be seated at the same table as A-list celebrities and top poker pros.
• The Ladies Only No-Limit Hold'em World Championship on Sunday, June 7, 2009, featuring a $1,000 buy-in and helping to raise awareness for the Nevada Cancer Institute, the official community relations partner of the World Series of Poker.
• The Seniors Only No-Limit Hold'em World Championship on Monday, June 22, 2009 for all poker enthusiasts 50 years of age or older.
• The return of the "November Nine" where the nine finalists of the Main Event (July 3-15) return to the Rio on November 7-10, 2009 to vie for the multi-million dollar prize and the title of 2009 World Champion of Poker in front of a live audience with special primetime coverage on ESPN.
"Whether you play poker around the kitchen table or consider yourself a professional, you will find a comfortable seat at the 2009 World Series of Poker," said Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker. "This year's schedule offers more variety than ever before and we look forward to welcoming players from around the world to the Rio for our 40th annual extravaganza this summer."
The famed Amazon Room in the Rio Convention Center once again will serve as the center of the poker universe this summer, featuring the same highly popular blueprint as last year.
Gold bracelet tournaments will begin at 12 noon or 5 PM Pacific Time each day, with a maximum of 10-one hour levels being played for the noon starts, while the 5 PM events will play a maximum of 8 one-hour levels. For those fortunate enough to advance past the first day, re-starts for noon bracelet events will begin at 2 PM, and 5 PM tournaments will restart at 3 PM with a maximum of 10 levels being played each day until a champion is crowned.
Pre-registration for the 2009 WSOP will begin in late February on-site at the Main Cage of the Rio in Las Vegas and online through www.worldseriesofpoker.com. Players will be encouraged to register through a streamlined online process in advance of coming to Las Vegas to avoid being shutout of their favorite events. Any foreign entrants who wire transfer monies will receive the exchange rate into U.S. dollars at the time of the wire transfer, thus locking in their exchange rate in advance.
A complete array of satellites, from single-table to mega, will be offered beginning from May 26-July 5, 2009.
Nightly No-Limit Hold'em tournaments will be offered from May 26-July 14 at 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM.
All winners will be required to provide a valid picture ID.
Tax forms will be completed for those with winnings in excess of $5,000 net of event buy-in.
Players without a Tax Identification Number and foreign players from non-tax treaty countries are subject to up to 30% tax withholding.
Harrah's reserves the right to cancel, change or modify the tournament or any tournament event, in part or in whole, without notice.
Complete tournament schedule.
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