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Howard Stutz

Harrah's to launch European World Series of Poker event

28 February 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Harrah's Entertainment announced Monday it was bringing the World Series of Poker to Europe, launching an inaugural 10-day, three-event tournament in September at the company's recently acquired London Clubs International casinos.

The competition will take place following the 38th World Series of Poker, which is scheduled for June and July at Rio. The European tournament will include its own version of the world championship main event.

"This is not a substitute for the World Series of Poker and it's an expansion on a global footprint in order to breathe continued life into the brand," World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said. "This new tournament has been designed with European players in mind, but registrants from every country are welcome. It will have a style and a flair that is all its own."

In December, Harrah's completed a $570 million purchase of London Clubs, which operates seven casinos in the United Kingdom and has four others under development. Pollack said he had always intended to expand the World Series of Poker internationally and the London Clubs deal speeded up the process.

"The deal was announced on Friday and I was on a plane Sunday to London," Pollack said.

World Series of Poker Europe is scheduled Sept. 6-16 at three of London Clubs' British casinos: Fifty, Leicester Square and the Sportsman. The championship event, a no-limit Texas hold'em game with a buy-in of approximately $19,600 dollars, will start Sept. 10 and last six days at the Leicester Square casino. The buy-in is almost double the $10,000 buy-in in the traditional world championship event.

"We'll see how it goes," Pollack said. "It's an experiment to some degree, but I can't imagine a player skipping the Rio event to play in London."

The 55-event 2007 World Series of Poker schedule compares with 46 events in 2006, when more than 42,000 entrants from 56 countries generated a total prize pool exceeding $171 million.

The World Series of Poker now operates 11 circuit events that take place throughout the year at Harrah's-operated casinos in the United States.

Pollack said that like the World Series of Poker, the European event will have a primary sponsor and a United Kingdom television partner.

Harrah's to launch European World Series of Poker event is republished from