The dates and venues for this year’s World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) were officially announced today by Harrah’s Entertainment. Hosted in London, England, this year’s series will run from September 19th to October 1st and will take place in the same three casinos as last year: St. James (Fifty), Leicester Square (The Casino at the Empire) and Marble Arch (Sportsman). “We look forward to again serving as hosts for this prestigious event,” said Michael Silberling, COO, London Clubs International. “A first class tournament at our first class properties promises to bring out the best poker players in the world.” Returning for its second year, WSOPE will be sponsored by Betfair once again when it rolls around later in 2008.

Although the tournament schedule for WSOPE 2008 hasn’t been finalized yet, online qualification has already started. “Last year produced a fantastic tournament which exceeded all expectations,” said David Yu, Betfair’s CEO. “We’re expecting an even better contest this time around.”

Last year featured 361 players and a strong field of pros including Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Johnny Chan. It was an online superstar, however, who came out on top; Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad proved that she is just as good live as online and took home the equivalent of over $2 million US, the largest poker prize ever won by a woman. Betfair has made it clear that she will play as one of their pro endorsers and that she will be back in 2008 to defend her title.

World Series of Poker Commissioner, Jeffrey Pollack, thinks that the old pros will remember 2007 and will come out this year in full force. “It was a clean sweep for the Europeans last year,” he mentioned. “There are many, many talented players in the European poker community and I think it caught some of the world’s best known poker players by surprise … the young guns should expect a tougher fight in 2008.”