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Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Will 2007 Wsop Be Bigger Than 2006?


The organizers of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are preparing for an increase in the number of participants in this year’s event, even though many observers expect a decrease.

About half the participants in last year’s WSOP earned their way in by qualifying via an online poker tournament.

But since fewer people are now gambling online because of the Federal government’s crackdown, fewer online players are expected to qualify for the 2007 WSOP, thus decreasing the size of the field from 2006.

WSOP organizers said they are planning for 10,000 players, a 14% increase over last year’s record field of 8,773 players.

“It is not either a target, a goal or a prediction,” tournament commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said in a conference call with reporters earlier this week.

“But again, you’ve got to plan for something. We’re planning for a top level of 10,000, but if there are more, we will figure it out.”

The WSOP says it plans to construct a special annex next to the Rio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, where the ‘07 WSOP is scheduled to be held for six weeks, beginning in June.

Such a move will enable the tournament to increase the number of tables to 258, Pollack said.

That would be enough to allow more than 3,000 players to play in the first three days of the WSOP main event, he said.

A larger number of entrants means the top prize for the WSOP main event will exceed last year’s $12 million top prize, which was won by Los Angeles television producer Jamie Gold.

WSOP organizers also said they are distancing the tourney from Internet poker sites that allow U.S. players to play for real money, in connection with the Feds’ online wagering crackdown via the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.

Groups associated with dot-com poker sites that take U.S. wagers will no longer be allowed to set up VIP booths and displays at the WSOP, Pollack said.

For more information about the upcoming WSOP, visit the WSOP website at

(E-mail Tom Somach at .)

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