Ladbrokes Poker planning tournament to rival WSOP

Next year's Poker Million sponsored by Ladbrokes Poker will be bigger and better than ever as the poker site plans to invest £3 million in the tournament in an effort to make the European event rival the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas.

John O'Reilly, Ladbrokes e-gaming division managing director, believes that the atmosphere against online gambling in the United States makes the time ripe for a big tournament in Europe to take off. The Poker Million in London could be the tournament to compete with the WSOP as the world's largest live poker tournament.

The 2006 WSOP Main Event had approximately 8,700 players who competed for more than $82 million in prize money, making it the biggest live poker tournament to date.

However, more than half the players had qualified by playing poker online which has now become more difficult in the Untied States due to the signing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which prohibits banks from processing payments to online gambling sites.

The Poker Million is already the biggest poker event in Europe. This year the winner will take home $1.2 million out of a $4.1 million prize pool.

O'Reilly said the company believes that by investing in the tournament and changing the format, it could grow even more and attract players from a wider pool.

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