Fasten your seatbelts, poker fans – because the drama gets started today at noon PT at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The 2010 World Series of Poker action begins with the first of 57 events, the $500 Casino Employees Event, which has been credited to launching the poker careers of players like two-time defending WSOP Omaha Hi/Lo champion Thang Luu and WSOP Circuit Rincon champ Bryan Devonshire.
Next on the schedule, at 5pm PT, the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship commences. The Players Championship is a mixed-game tournament replacing the $50,000 HORSE event and adding three more games to the standard HORSE rotation.
In a statement to USA Today, poker pro Daniel Negreanu hyped the calibre of players in $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship saying, “You’re going to have the best of the best facing off to test their overall skills. The buy-in insures it’s not going to be an amateur-filled field. Secondly, the fact that it’s an eight-game mix means you have to be versed in all the games. That kind of shuts out people who are limited to just playing Hold ‘em.”
In stark contrast to the Poker Player’s Championship, poker snobs dub Saturday’s lone event as the WSOP’s “donkfest,” with the first of seven $1,000 no-limit hold’em events getting underway. Whoever wins this event will walk away with one of the largest returns on investment of any player in the history of poker, and hey, if you want to make some money at this year’s WSOP, play where the donkeys play.
This Sunday sees just one event, the $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo. With the bracelet going to Thang Luu for the past two years, everyone will be interested to see if he can make WSOP history by becoming the first player to win a preliminary bracelet event for three consecutive years.
Among the big events to keep your eyes on this year is the returning Tournament of Champions, a tournament featuring 27 poker players, 20 of whom are there through an online electoral process.
There’s been a lot of hype about the Tournament of Champions this year as this is the first time that most of the players entered into the super lucrative $1 million freeroll will have received their seat democratically.
Out of an original list of 521 WSOP bracelet holders, it will be narrowed down to 27 players in total with the public casting their votes to choose 20 of the spots. Five seats were automatically assigned to the current WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Cada, the current WSOP Europe Champion Barry Schulman and the previous three Tournament of Champions winners who are Mike Matusow, Mike Sexton and Annie Duke. Two additional seats will be awarded by Harrah’s through sponsorship deals.
The Tournament of Champions is one of the few televised WSOP events and starts on June 27. The final nine from the Tournament of Champions will then return for the final table on July 4.
If you’re looking for a piece of the WSOP action, there’s still time to jump into one of the many Sports Interaction WSOP online qualifiers and grab a seat for in anything from a $1,000 donkfest to the $10,000 WSOP Main Event itself.