Jeffrey Pollack, the World Series of Poker commissioner employed by organisers Harrah's Entertainment, revealed this week that the World Series of Poker's European championship will increase its action from three events to four, and that arrangements have been made for ESPN to broadcast eight hours of original coverage in the U.S. and distribute the tournament worldwide.
In addition, Harrah's Entertainment, the owner and operator of the WSOP, will provide coverage of the event to non-ESPN markets, which in 2007 totaled more than 100 million American households.
"We're excited to have ESPN bring the World Series of Poker Europe to 90 million U.S. viewers and 43 million in Latin America and beyond," Pollack said in a press conference in the Betfair.com Players Lounge, where he was flanked by last year's inaugural winner of the WSOP Europe, 19-year-old Annette Obrestad.
"Last year the first-ever World Series of Poker Europe was a smash hit and we're thrilled that ESPN is going to be able to allow poker fans from all over the world the chance to see what we think will be an even bigger success this year."
The WSOP Europe is presented by Betfair.com and will be take place in London. The Series, which begins on September 19 and ends on October 2, will be hosted for the second year by London Clubs International.
A GBP 1 500 No-Limit Hold'em Day has been added to the schedule and will be the fourth bracelet event, starting on September 9. The others are the three-day GBP 2 500 H.O.R.S.E. event on September 22, the three-day GBP 5 000 Pot Limit Omaha on September 24 and the GBP 10 000 World Championship No-Limit Hold'em Main Event that will run over five days beginning September 27.
"We have enhanced the schedule to build on our initial success and provide a richer experience for players," Pollack said. "If this year's World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas is any indication, the level of tournament play is increasing worldwide and we expect the second annual WSOPE to be hotly contested."
The inaugural WSOP Europe in 2007 attracted 623 entrants and generated a prize pool of GBP 1 305 215. At 18 years old Obrestad, who started her poker career online when she was only 15 years old using the screen-name "Annette_15," bested a field that included Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan to win the largest amount ever for a female (GBP 1 million). The Norwegian also became the youngest person to ever wear a WSOP bracelet.