WSOPE 2008 poised for big names, potential upsets

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Imagine being a teenager sitting at a computer screen late at night. You've seen poker on TV. People say you're good at math; you know you're good at other games, so you register in a poker room. You deposit.

All of a sudden you make a few grand, then a few more. Just as fast, you're playing poker on that same TV, this time with millions of dollars, er, quid on the line.

The Tony G two outted me with two cards to come and knocked me out of the tournament. Oh well.

"I'm really feeling good about my game tho. Ive been playing in my head all the time even if I havent been at the tables, and Ive come up with some pretty cool new stuff that I'm gonna be experimenting with in the upcoming tourneys. Watch out, I'll be making my mark again this year, u wait and see!"

Unlike the Las Vegas version of the WSOP, there are just four events in the WSOPE. They are scheduled as follows:

  • Sept. 19: Event 1 - £1,500+£75 No-Limit Hold'em
  • Sept. 22: Event 2 - £2,500+£150 H.O.R.S.E.
  • Sept. 24: Event 3 - £5,000+£250 Pot-Limit Omaha (Double Chance)
  • Sept. 27: Event 4 - £10,000+£350 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event

In other contrasts with the Vegas version, the WSOPE Main Event has a bigger buy-in, there are relatively few players involved, and U.K. regulations permit younger players like Obrestad to play.

Although she'd won pretty big online, Obrestad was virtually unknown when she bested a WSOPE final table that included Johannes Korsar, Oyvind Riisem, John Tabatabai, Dominic Kay, Matthew McCullough, Theo Jorgensen, Magnus Persson and James Keys last year.

Now, she's all over the place and holds several lucrative poker sponsorships.

Last year's WSOPE was widely considered a success, and it's safe to say that poker is flourishing on the other side of the pond. Once again this year Harrah's has joined forces with gaming powerhouse Betfair to stage the WSOPE.

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

In fact, many organizers expect both bigger-name players and more players in general will be involved in WSOPE 2008.

"We have enhanced this year's schedule in order to meet the growing demand [for] poker in Europe," says World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "If this year's World Series of Poker in Las Vegas is any indication, the level of tournament play is increasing worldwide and we expect WSOPE to be hotly contested."

Europe has certainly taken center stage in the poker universe, with the recent Ladbrokes event and the European Poker Tour starting its season in Barcelona last week. In fact, the EPT will play the second event of its season in London immediately following the WSOPE.

Expect to see the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Allen Cunningham, Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, Gus Hansen and Patrik Antonius all kicking around London to try and grab some of the loot on the line in the next few weeks.

Negreanu is already pacing London, apparently lost.

"Today I walked around a little bit, trying to see if I could find the casino on my own," wrote Kid Poker on his blog. "The streets in London are rather confusing and it wasn't an easy task, but I asked enough people for direction when I was thoroughly lost and eventually found my way. I enjoy getting lost, I find it to be loads of fun."

Don't be fooled by Negreanu, though. Expect him and all the other big-name pros to be perfectly well oriented for the start of the WSOPE.

PokerListings will also make sure it's perfectly oriented to bring you the best live coverage of the 2008 WSOPE. Stay tuned to the Live Tournaments section to read about all the action from the poker felt.

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