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Registration begins for WSOP Europe’s inaugural event
Posted at 08/14/2007 04 PM in General Discussions by The Greedy Gecko.
The Las Vegas tournament has set its sights on Europe, starting September 6 at The Casino in The Empire in Leicester Square, London. The event will kick off with a three day, £2500 HORSE event. A two-day £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Tournament, also hosted at The Empire, will commence on September 8. The WSOP Main Event is a six day No-Limit Texas Hold’Em Championship with a £10,000 buy-in. It is set to begin on September 10 at The Empire, The Sportsman at Marble Arch and Fifty in St. James. With an estimated prize of £7,500,000, and an estimated 750 players, the odds of winning a bracelet look good for the qualifying players.

“This new tournament has been designed with European players in mind, but registrants from every country are welcome," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "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."

Pre-registration for the WSOP Europe is currently underway at All-time WSOP leader, Phil Hellmuth Jr., has officially committed to joining the tournament. He will be joined by World Champion, Jamie Gold and the renowned Doyle Brunson.

Betfair Poker is set to be the Presenting Sponsor of WSOPE through 2011. They will be responsible for promoting the event “with prestige and authenticity” internationally throughout the year.

“This is an historic deal for us," added David Yu, Betfair CEO. "To present the WSOP, with its 38-year tradition, on its first venture into Europe is a great honour.”

A number of online poker sites are hosting several tournaments offering VIP packages as prizes, which would cover the buy-in price for the WSOP Europe event, five-star hotel charges, travel expenses and so on.

"Getting to send our players to a historical event like the first World Series of Poker Europe event is fantastic," said Jonathan May, Everest Poker property manager. "We fully believe that the WSOP Europe is going to become a rival to its American counterpart very quickly."

“We’ve never worked directly with online companies to register players,” said Pollack. “We’ve allowed individuals in the past to third-party register multiple people. Whether or not those people were associated with sites I can’t address.”

He went on to say, “In Europe, there will be a slightly different framework, for sure. There will be a few sites that we are directly dealing with, but none of those sites will be sites that take Americans.” This is likely because the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) outlawed transactions between U.S. financial institutions and online gambling firms.

WSOP 2007 Championship winner of $8.25 million, Jerry Yang, also got his seat on the tournament by winning a small online tournament with a buy-in of only $225, where the prize covered his buy-in to the World Series of Poker. The pay-off from that satellite tournament turned out to be bigger than he’d hoped for.

WSOP champions can expect to make millions with the resulting online poker website endorsements, corporate guest appearances, billboard ads and so on. Phil Hellmuth Jr. is a household name, marketing poker video games, instructional DVDs and other related items.

The move to Europe is done with the intention of drawing in more international players.

"They are critical to the WSOP," said Pollack. "We are trying to put more ‘World’ into the World Series of Poker. It's a global game and we want to bring our brand to fans and players around the world through the television and the Internet."

“Any affirmation of our globality is a positive thing,” he added. ”We awarded more than 600 media credentials this year. I think that’s the most we’ve ever had, from all over the planet.”

European players tend to play more aggressively and take larger risks than American players. At the 2007 WSOP event, Philip Hilm of Denmark made a big impression on viewers as he bet over $20 million on a third pair and flush, which he ultimately lost.

Aggressive play of this kind could be in large part due to the financial support of sponsors or backers who give their players free reign to bet as much as they need to and take risks, in exchange for a percentage of the winnings. Those who play with their own money tend to take smaller risks.

With all eyes on London at the moment, Jeffrey Pollack predicts a huge success.

”We’re excited about Europe, we think that we’ve found the right place on the calendar for this particular event.”

However, even if things don’t pan out in the inaugural year, he still has faith in the event’s overall appeal and ability to draw players over the coming years.

“We are launching a brand new event, a brand new tournament. If we don’t sell out in year one, that’s okay. We’re committed to this long term.”

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