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World Series of Poker (WSOP) Comes to Europe This Fall

Tue, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 12:00am

Harrah's Entertainment announced earlier this week that it is launching the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe this fall. This represents the first time ever that WSOP bracelets will be awarded at events outside of Las Vegas.

WSOP Europe events will be held at London Club International (LCI) casinos at different locations in the U.K. Three events during one poker series have been scheduled so far, and more are forthcoming.

The first WSOP Europe series will debut in London September 6-16, 2007. The WSOP Europe Main Event will be a six day 10,000 pound (USD $19,650 or 14,870 Euros) No-Limit Texas Hold'Em Championship. It will begin September 10 at LCI's Leicester Square, The Sportsman and Fifty. The playing field will be consolidated beginning September 13 at Leicester Square.

In his announcement, Jeffrey Pollack, World Series of Poker Commissioner said, "The World Series of Poker Europe will have a unique identity, style and flair, but will remain true to the 38-year tradition and heritage of the WSOP."

WSOP EuropeHe added, "This new tournament has been designed with European players in mind, but registrants from every country are welcome. We hope it becomes an annual tradition for poker enthusiasts and a home for WSOP fans after the action concludes in Las Vegas each summer."

Pollack was quoted by CardPlayer as saying that as soon as he heard Harrah's was to buy LCI, he began working on how to bring the WSOP to Europe. He is aware that they are late into the tournament circuit in Europe. But he feels between his outstanding WSOP Europe Team, the brand recognition of the WSOP, and the fact that the WSOP bracelet is the most recognizable poker hardware globally will allow them to quickly catch up.

To make these tournaments uniquely European, Harrah's is debating whether to introduce a dress code, which is standard across many European casinos. For example, male poker players could be asked to wear blazers.

Harrah's shared that they are also debating whether to make the first few WSOP Europe events exclusive to only European players to make a splash in an already crowded European poker tourney scene, in their comments to CardPlayer. No decision been made on either of these proposals.

"We are honored to host this unique extension of the world's richest and oldest poker tournament," said Bill Timmins, chief executive officer of London Clubs International.

He added, "As the exclusive offline satellite host, LCI will enable players to compete in our poker rooms in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Southend and Brighton for a seat in every WSOP Europe event."

Online qualifiers are a slightly different story.

Harrah's is now prevented by the U.S. from directly acknowledging WSOP qualifiers from online poker sites. Many poker analysts feared this will slash 2007 WSOP attendance, since half to two thirds of the 8,773 players who entered the 2006 WSOP main event were online qualifiers (no official percentage has ever been confirmed).

But the U.K. Gambling Act of 2005, which goes into effect September 2007, will legally license and regulate online poker sites. So qualifying online to a WSOP Europe event would be no problem.

Pollack would only say "stay tuned" when asked whether Harrah's has plans to build an online site or to partner with existing online poker sites to provide WSOP satellites.

Beginning May 1, 2007 further details about structures, payout percentages and satellite dates and times for the WSOP Europe tournaments will be available on the World Series of Poker website (click here to visit it).

Since Harrah's reserves the right to cancel, change or modify the tournament or any tournament event, be sure to regularly check back on PokerPages Tournament Schedule page to keep up to date (click here to see WSOP Europe Schedule).



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