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Months of anticipation come to a close tomorrow, as the 2008 World Series of Poker gets underway. Although the first bracelet won’t be up for grabs until then, the cards are already in the air in with a number of cash games and satellites in full swing. Registration opened yesterday, and it wasn’t too long before the first tournaments started up. Expected to attract some attention today is the $500 main event satellite, where one seat will be awarded for every $10,200 taken in buy-ins.

Numerous satellites for all the events in the World Series calendar will be running throughout the coming month. Increased desire for these qualifiers has prompted the Rio to create a new “Satellite Room” off from the main convention hall, to house the throng of potential bracelet winners. Media coverage of the room has increased with the announcement that CardRunners.com, a prominent educational site for poker players, is the venue’s inaugural official sponsor.

Despite all the buzz surrounding this year’s satellites, the real action gets underway tomorrow with the Pot Limit Hold ’em Championship event. Seasoned World Series professional Allen Cunningham won the first bracelet of the Series last year. However, if he wants to defend his crown he’ll have to stump up twice the amount of cash, as the buy-in has increased from $5k to $10k. This is a trend continued throughout the series, with Harrah’s looking to provide a wider variety of buy-ins. This sentiment was echoed in the comments of Jeffrey Pollack, the WSOP Commissioner: “With 55 opportunities to win a bracelet, more $1,500 and $10,000 events than ever before, and same day television coverage of our Main Event Final Table, the WSOP stage has never been brighter.”

No matter how much you refine the WSOP as a whole (new rooms, better facilities, more variety), the big draw will always be the $10,000 No Limit Hold ’em main event. Thousands are expecting turn up, buy-in, and bust out over eleven days of poker heaven. The main event truly captures the spirit of a worldwide competition – last year there were players from over 87 countries, vying for the 8.25 million dollar prize.

So as the world’s eyes settle on the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, everything seems in place for another fantastic month and a half of poker.