For the first time, the World Series of Poker will begin and end with a $10,000 tournament. The 55-event schedule will begin May 30 with the World Championship in pot-limit hold 'em and end November 11 with the final table of the no-limit hold 'em main event.
The schedule for 2008 includes eight $1,500 buy-in, no-limit hold 'em tournaments, which, with the exception of the main event, traditionally draw the largest fields. The WSOP also has added a second start day for the first of the $1,500 no-limit competitions to accommodate the expected number of entrants.
"This is our most exciting schedule yet," said Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the WSOP. "Both amateur and professional poker players will have new opportunities to compete for a WSOP bracelet and can choose from the widest variety of games and buy-ins ever offered in one poker tournament, and certainly at the WSOP."
With eight $10,000 buy-in tournaments (up from two last year) and 20 $1,500 tournaments (up from 16 last year), players with high and low bankrolls will be able to take their shot at a WSOP bracelet. The $50,000 HORSE championship also will return for its third straight year, but without one of its previous champions, Chip Reese, who died earlier in December. However, Reese will not be forgotten. Future winners of the $50,000 event will receive a trophy named after the poker legend.
In addition to HORSE, a new World Championship mixed game has been added to the schedule. Consisting of limit hold 'em, Omaha high-low split eight or Better, razz , seven-card stud, seven-card stud high-low split-eight or better, no-limit hold 'em, pot-limit Omaha and 2-7 triple draw lowball, this new tournament is sure to bring out the biggest and the best in the game.
Another new staple of the WSOP schedule is the "Ante Up For Africa" tournament, which debuted last year. Organized by poker player Annie Duke, actor Don Cheadle and Norman Epstein, dozens of Hollywood celebrities and poker professionals raised more than $700,000 for the Ante Up For Africa non-profit organization in 2007. Founded in 2006, the organization is dedicated to raising money and awareness for Africans in need.
Although there was a lack of major alterations to the tournament schedule, one major change was the removal of the tent that caused many problems for players last year. From the heat to its stability, it wasn't a success.
"The poker tent is gone," Pollack said. "We heard folks loud and clear last year, and there will be no tents used for tournament play at the 2008 WSOP."
July 3 will be the first of four start days for the 2008 main event. Last year, 6,358 entrants competed for a prize pool of $59.8 million. Players can choose their main event start date as long as seats are available on the selected date.
Below is the complete schedule for the 2008 WSOP. Events in bold will be broadcast on ESPN. The media and the "Ante Up For Africa" tournaments will be held July 2.
Event 54 will be televised on September 2 until October 28th. There will be a preview show on November 4 and the two-hour final table show will be aired on November 11th. For poker TV listings, click here.