ESPN to distribute an expanded WSOP Europe in 2008

2 July 2008

LAS VEGAS – The World Series of Poker has once again extended its global reach.

WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack announced today that the World Series of Poker Europe will not only increase from three events to four, but ESPN will broadcast eight hours of original coverage in the U.S. and distribute the tournament worldwide. In addition, Harrah's Entertainment, the owner and operator of the WSOP, will provide coverage of the event to non-ESPN markets, which in 2007 totaled more than 100 million households.

"We're excited to have ESPN bring the World Series of Poker Europe to 90 million U.S. viewers and 43 million in Latin America and beyond," Pollack said in a press conference in the Betfair.com Players Lounge, where he was flanked by last year's inaugural winner of the WSOP Europe, 19-year-old Annette Obrestad. "Last year the first-ever World Series of Poker Europe was a smashing hit and we're thrilled that ESPN is going to be able to allow poker fans from all over the world the chance to see what we think will be an even bigger hit this year."

The WSOP Europe is presented by Betfair.com and will be take place in London. The Series, which begins on Sept. 19 and ends on Oct. 2, will be hosted for the second-straight year by London Clubs International. A £1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Day has been added to the schedule and will be the fourth bracelet event, with a Sept. 19 start date. The others are the three-day £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event on Sept. 22, the three-day £5,000 Pot Limit Omaha on Sept. 24 and the £10,000 World Championship No-Limit Hold'em Main Event that will run over five days beginning Sept. 27.

"We have enhanced the schedule to build on our initial success and provide a richer experience for players," Pollack said. "If this year's World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas is any indication, the level of tournament play is increasing worldwide and we expect the second annual WSOPE to be hotly contested."

"We are extremely excited to be working alongside Harrah's and the World Series of Poker brand for a second year," said Betfair.com CEO David Yu. "Betfair Poker is now the only place players can qualify online for the tournament – this exclusivity shows how confident we are that WSOP Europe 2008 will be even bigger and better than before."

The inaugural WSOP Europe in 2007 featured 623 entrants and a prize pool of £1,305,215. At 18 years old Obrestad, who started her poker career online when she was only 15 years old using the screen-name "Annette_15," bested a field that included Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan to win the largest amount ever for a female (£1 million). The Norwegian also became the youngest person to ever wear a WSOP bracelet.

She said on Tuesday that she was enjoying her third visit to Las Vegas, despite the fact that she can not play in the U.S. version of the WSOP because she is under the age of 21.

"It's not as hard as you think because this is the only vacation that I can take without playing poker," she said. "I'm looking forward to the [WSOP Europe]. Last year was the first time I could ever play in a bracelet event. This year my motivation is to go out and try to win another bracelet. Last year I was more concerned with winning the money."

During the WSOP in Las Vegas, players can pre-register for WSOP Europe at the tournament cage as well as lock in poker player hotel rates via www.worldseriesofpoker.com. In addition, $1,570 Mega Satellites for the WSOP Europe Main Event will be held July 10th and 11th at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.


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