WSOP expanding to Australia in 2013

Updated: May 2, 2012, 1:49 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

The World Series of Poker is expanding once again and starting in 2013, the race for a coveted WSOP bracelet will make its way Down Under. Just weeks before the start of the 2012 WSOP, the WSOP announced that the WSOP Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) will make its debut in Melbourne, Australia, after forming a partnership with the Crown Melbourne.

[+] EnlargeCrown Casino
Erik Kabik/WSOP The Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, will serve as the home of the 2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific.

The new tournament series will take place April 4-15, 2013, and offer five WSOP bracelet events. The Crown Melbourne is no stranger to the tournament poker scene with the Aussie Millions stealing the attention of the poker world every January.

"Our goal is to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker and use our platform to elevate the game through a series of major championships," WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said. "With WSOP Las Vegas growing annually and WSOP Europe poised for long-term success after five years, the time is right to turn our attention to the dynamic poker scene in Asia and Australia. Given Crown's success with the 'Aussie Millions Poker Championship,' we couldn't ask for a better partner than Crown to establish the Asia-Pacific's definitive poker festival."

The complete schedule for the event has not yet been released, but 2005 WSOP main event champion and representative of the Crown, Joe Hachem, is excited to have an opportunity to win another bracelet closer to home.

"It's thrilling to think the World Series of Poker is coming to Australian soil," Hachem said. "I know firsthand what a life-changing moment winning the WSOP gold bracelet was and how it served as a catalyst for the growth of poker in Australia and Asia. It will be a dream come true to host a worldwide poker event such as this at Crown. I can't wait."

The WSOP, WSOP Europe and WSOP APAC continue to grow the world's largest poker brand and will most likely award more than 70 bracelets combined in 2013.

"This exciting partnership brings together two industry leaders, and two strong brands, to create a premier poker event in this region," Crown Melbourne chief executive officer Greg Hawkins said. "Our agreement firmly aligns with our objective of attracting the very best local and international players, all vying for a coveted WSOP bracelet. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the Aussie Millions and look forward to featuring WSOP Asia-Pacific on our poker calendar in April 2013."

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.