Sunday, March 21, 2010

WSOP Tournament of Champions Reborn

It was run in 2004, 2005 and 2006 as a meeting of the greatest poker players of the time. However, it wasn’t really thought of as an all-important all-star game but rather more as a fun way to celebrate the end of another successful World Series of Poker.

Now however, with live tournament poker looking for ways to increase its image through marketing, the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions will return to Prime Time and this time will be billed as an All-Star Game that will feature the best players at the time fighting it out for poker supremacy and all the bragging rights.

The 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions will feature a field of the 27 greatest poker players in the world today. Included automatically in the list will be Annie Duke, Mike Matusow and Mike Sexton, the respective winners of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 iterations of the event. Also included will be 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada and 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event champion Barry Shulman. Two sponsor exemptions to be determined at a later date will round out the first 7 players in the field and the final 20 will be chosen through online balloting by all of the fans in the world of poker.

The main reason for the lion’s share of players being chosen by the fans is quite simple. The WSOP Tournament of Champions from 2010 onwards is going to be run like an All-Star Game. No matter what sport you look at, be it baseball, basketball, football or hockey, you will see that the top North American leagues in the sport all have All-Star Games where the attendees are chosen by the fans. The WSOP Tournament of Champions is attempting to follow in those footsteps and that is where this entire idea comes from.

For that reason, the Tournament of Champions will also be broadcast on ESPN as part of their WSOP coverage. The first part of the tournament will take place June 27th and the last on July 4th, but the actual broadcast date on ESPN is August 3rd.