2012 WSOP and WSOPE News

The World Poker Tour launched the first day of its Championship today, and while poker fans are no doubt eager to see the result of that significant Main Event, one can’t help but think about the even bigger tournament that lies ahead. The 42nd annual World Series of Poker begins in just 16 days, and as a result the industry headlines are crowded with previews of what’s to come for the game’s biggest and most prestigious live tournament.

The 2011 WSOP will encompass an impressive schedule of 58 events spread out over 49 days. The buy ins will range from a weekend warrior friendly $500 low up to a high rollers only $50,000 event. As has been the case for the last several years, the WSOP will once again take place at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The Rio’s predesignated 100,000 square foot ballroom will be packed with 380 individual poker tables as thousands of poker hopefuls crowd the casino for their chance at a title (and the fat payout that comes with it).

As usual, all the major poker sites are offering WSOP packages. You can satellite your way into virtually any event that appeals to you, and should you make it to Vegas but miss the money the tournament’s organizers are offering tourists a second chance to score via 24-hour ring game action and unaffiliated NL Hold’em tournaments three times a day, every day.

While many industry analysts have speculated that the recent U.S. Department of Justice crackdown on PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the CEREUS Network sites will affect the 2011 WSOP’s numbers, others have predicted that a lack of online action could drive American players to Sin City in droves. The controversy certainly hasn’t affected WSOP sponsorships; just this week tournament organizers announced a new commercial partner in the form of the popular Dearfoam shoe brand.

Likewise, while many American channels have been pulling their poker coverage from events that are sponsored by the offending poker sites, ESPN is actually planning an expansion of their WSOP coverage this year. That expansion includes semi-live coverage in the form of an on-site stream. That coverage will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2 while ESPN3 will feature a 30-minute delay that allows for the addition of visible hole cards. This news has earned mixed reviews from the players themselves. Some concede that the additional coverage can only help the popularity of the game while others argue that it will allow opponents to analyze their live strategies far too closely.

In related news, but on another continent, the 2011 WSOPE recently announced its official schedule and is also making some significant changes this year. This year’s WSOPE will run from October 7 – 20 at the Casino Barriere de Canne Croisette in Cannes, France and will now feature seven different bracelet events. The location should come as no surprise since the tournament’s primary sponsor is BarrierePoker.fr.

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