The 2006 World Series of Poker season is set up to surpass what was achieved in 2005 by Harrah's. With the start of the WSOP Circuit Tournament series on August 11, 2005 and ending with the regular WSOP tournament that will begin on June 26th, Harrah's put into motion the basis for giving the world top level poker action year round. The number of WSOP Circuit Tournament events was increased from last year's 5 events to 12, allowing basically an event each month. Each winner of the Main Event from these WSOP Circuit Tournaments besides winning a nice sum of money and a beautiful ring, received a freeroll entry into the Tournament of Champions.
For 2006, the World Series of Poker tournament that begins on June 26th at the Rio in Las Vegas, Nevada, will feature 44 separate events verses last years 45. But there will be sizable changes in Event 38 which is the Main Event. Harrah's is gearing up for 8000 poker players to descend on the tables with the first day being split up into four rounds, (Day 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D), each round handling 2000 players per session. With the entry fee still at $10,000 per person, the potential prize pool for the Main Event could reach $80,000,000! This would surpass the figures for 2005 in which 5,619 entrants and a prize pool of $52,818,610 were the final statistics. Expect a huge portion of players to win their seats from online poker rooms. Beginning on July 28th, the Main Event action will continue over a period of 13 days ending on August 10th.
Harrah's also plans to host the World Series of Poker Lifestyle show that will be held during the first week of the Main Event from July 27th to the 31st. It will happen in the Rio's 55,000 square foot Pavilion Convention Center, so attending won't keep anyone too far away from the table action. Last year there were 100 vendors that featured the biggest online poker rooms, poker magazines, poker gift shops some with poker jewelry and even a booth hosting Marcel Luske, the Flying Dutchman. 55,000 visitors came through the aisles in 2005 to learn, see and experience everything related to poker.
The only group of people who could have a better perspective on the poker industry would be the fortunate few who become champions. These lucky players have not only received offers of endorsement, partnership in online poker rooms, but have begun to achieve celebrity status. Book deals, video games, TV shows, freeroll tournament invitations to big money poker tournaments overrun these individuals. Why? Sponsors who anxiously want to sink big money into poker related events want these people on their side. Joseph Hachem, the 2005 Main Event winner, recently announced his decision to leave Australia to live in Beverly Hills, California because of the earning potential of opportunities received since becoming champion. This came after winning a major victory in Australia's courts that let him keep his $7,500,000 won in the WSOP Main Event -- tax free! He even has top level talent agency William Morris helping him to sort out the best offers.
With the allure of money, status and celebrity fame, the World Series of Poker has become one of the premier events on the planet to follow. And 2006 will be no exception, giving the public more of what it has been waiting for.