This year's World Series of Poker epic in Las Vegas will again feature a four month break before the final table action takes place in the NLTH main event, and there will be a new one-time $40 000 buy-in tournament at the start of the series to commemorate its 40th anniversary of the championship.
The break was introduced at the behest of television executives last year, and delayed the final table of the world's richest poker tournament to allow ESPN television broadcasts to air without viewers knowing the outcome. The entry field of tournament field of 6 844 players was reduced to nine final tablers in July, but the final table action did not start until November, when 22-year-old Danish player Peter Eastgate became the event's youngest winner and won $9.15 million.
Tournament and cable network officials said ratings went up 50 percent for last year's final table, which aired the same day play finished.
Phil Hellmuth, an 11-time gold bracelet winner at the series, said most players think the main event's break is good for the game, allowing for more buildup to a winner and creating a bigger spectacle when the final nine players finally square off.
The 2009 World Series of Poker, starting May 27 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, will have 57 gold bracelet events, up from 55 last year. The main event starts July 3 and its winner will be honoured on November 10th.
Gone from the series are five re-buy events, in which players were allowed to buy themselves back into the tournament after they got knocked out.