London series lands Thursday Invades London for the WSOP-E

The wait is nearly over as Big Ben ticks away the final hours to the first event of the World Series of Poker Europe in London. On Thursday at 2 p.m. (GMT) the Casino at the Empire will open its doors for Event 1 of the series.

The first event is the £2,500 H.O.R.S.E., which is planned as a three-day event. One pro who's already said he'll be bellying up to the table with the rest of the field tomorrow is Patrik Antonius.

He wrote in his blog he's taking in the launch party for the WSOPE tonight and excited to begin the tournament tomorrow after not making the money at the European Poker Tour event in Barcelona.

The second of the three events in the WSOP Europe will be the £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event starting on Saturday. It too will be hosted by the Casino at the Empire for the duration of the two-day event.

Of course, the event everyone will be waiting for is the £10,000 No-Limit Hold'em championship event. The six-day event will start Monday and is planned to be separated into three different casinos initially to accommodate the expected number of participants. The event will play at the Casino at the Empire, The Sportsman and Fifty until Sept. 13 when it will consolidate to the Empire.

Several top professional poker players have already signed on to play in the main event. The likes of Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Erik Seidel, Eli Elezra, Gus Hanson, Jennifer Harman, Allen Cunningham, Howard Lederer and Jamie Gold have already committed to try to become Europe's first champion.

Even with some heavy hitters crossing the pond, the playing field is expected to be much smaller for the World Series Main Event in Europe than for the Las Vegas WSOP Main Event.

Bodog is actually laying odds on how many people will show up for the event, as well as on other aspects of the series. Bodog oddsmakers see the 575-649 and 650-749 range as the favorites, both at 9/4 odds, while the odds that there will be more than the WSOP's stated goal of 750 are listed at 3/1.

Also on the Bodog betting block is whether an American-born poker player will win the Europe main event. European players are expected to greatly outnumber the U.S. players showing up for the event, and some of the world's top pros hail from the U.K. and other European nations.

Keeping that in mind, Bodog's oddsmakers are taking the safe bet that a European will win.

The betting site also has some favorites for who will make the most money during all three events of the series as well. Just like the average poker fan, Bodog reckons the two Phils will top the list - Phil Ivey at 4-1 and Phil Hellmuth at 5-1. The pair also dominate the last-longer bet list, with Bodog Poker's David Williams making the list as well as Doyle Brunson and Carlos Mortensen.

The people who know best, however, will be those on the scene watching the poker players battle it out in a World Series of Poker event on foreign soil for the first time ever.'s own Owen Laukkanen and Arthur Crowson will be on the scene from Day 1 to the very end of the series bringing you live updates, reports, interviews, photos and more straight from London to your computer screen. Check out their handiwork in the Live Tournament Section.

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