World Series Preview by MCLUB

27 May 2012

The annual World Series of Poker looks to be a memorable one for some percentage of the poker community. Sixty one bracelets will be awarded at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, making May 27 to the middle of July the most densely packed time of the tournament year.

The biggest headlines will emerge as the Series develops, but some have already made their way into the spotlight. The $1 million buy-in event, organized with a significant chunk going to charity, will be the largest of its kind in the game’s recorded history.

Some of gaming’s richest businessmen, as well as the most fearless poker pros, have committed to play on July 1. After Black Friday in April 2011 put poker in an awful spot for many months — but didn’t adversely affect the WSOP turnout last year — the game’s best player, Phil Ivey, was a no-show for the summer. The eight-time bracelet winner has returned to the tournament circuit, and speculation is that he will play at this year’s Series. Swedish Internet poker sensation Viktor “Isildur1” Blom should also turn some heads this summer. The kid who skyrocketed to the top of the poker world a few years ago, only to give it all back, thanks in part to a $4 million loss in a single heads-up session, will be making his debut at the WSOP Las Vegas.

The $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em championship will conclude in late October, in order to avoid the attention of Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney. Technically, no November Nine this year. The Main Event bracelet was unveiled Friday and has a new look. It’s now worth more in raw material than the championship jewelry of the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL, according to the bracelet’s designer. Some rules have been tweaked by WSOP staff. Stances on talking at the table and celebrating have been relaxed to allow more color into the game. A major change to side action comes with the Nevada Gaming Control Board approving the business of sports books taking bets on WSOP final tables. The practice was authorized last year for the Main Event final table, but has been expanded to a majority of the 2011 tournaments. As thousands of players jam into the Rio to compete for millions in prize money, a handful of Nevada Gaming regulators will be in the process of licensing the state’s first online poker sites. The first wave of authorization should happen in July.


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