The 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event begins today, bringing thousands of the world's best poker players to the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
And for the first time since 2008, the tournament will finish without the three-month break known as the November Nine.
Today is the first of three starting flights and the final table is scheduled to play out July 20-22.
Players from over 85 countries around the world are expected to participate. The event draws celebrities and sports stars in addition to elite poker pros, recreational players and poker enthusiasts.
Nothing Like ME Prestige
Last year's Main Event saw an unlikely champion in Vietnamese-American Qui Nguyen whose biggest previous poker cash was $9,029 in a low buy-in WSOP event in 2009.
Nguyen won over $8 million when he outlasted 6,736 other players and defeated California poker pro Gordon Vayo heads-up.
The 2017 Main Event is expected to build a prize pool of over $60 million with a similar first-place prize to last year.
The winner will also receive the trademark diamond-encrusted Main Event bracelet worth an estimated $500,000.
66 events have already played out at the 2017 World Series of Poker with tens of thousands of players entering and tens of millions of dollars awarded.
But nothing in the poker world comes close to the size and prestige of the Main Event.
Enhanced Live Broadcast ESPN/PokerGO
ESPN and ESPN2 plan to carry 40+ hours of live coverage from the Main Event. The live broadcast will run on a 30-minute delay as per gaming regulations.
ESPN's live broadcast starts with four hours of action today and will include every-hand coverage of the three-day final table starting July 19.
“This is poker’s Olympics and we are thrilled that ESPN and PokerGO have joined forces to bring viewers around the globe inside access to our game’s most prestigious event,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.
“We can’t wait to get started on July 8 and look forward to sharing this event with a massive audience.”
PokerGO, the world's only live poker subscription service will also cover the Main Event, supplementing ESPN's broadcast with an estimated 60 hours of additional content.
Norman Chad, Lon McEachern and Kara Scott will provide commentary for the Main Event along with a rotating cast of poker's biggest names who will help provide strategy analysis.
PokerListings.com will be on location for the duration of the Main Event producing feature articles, photography and a live window to the WSOP via Twitter.