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That’s right folks, the 2009 edition of the largest poker tournament series in the world starts in less than a month.  The series will start off with a bang this year in celebration of the 40th Annual No-Limit Hold’em event (this is actually Event 2, Event 1 is a casino employees event).  The 40th Annual tournament should feature the best of the best, as the buy-in will be a healthy $40,000, four-times the buy-in of the Main Event.

This year’s series will also feature the premier of several other tournaments.  This includes a $2,500 deuce-to-seven no-limit tournament, an eight-game tournament, also for $2,500, and the first-ever Champions Invitational.  The Champions Invitational is an invitation-only event that will bring back former Main Event champions to play for the Binion Cup and a new car.

There has been speculation that this year’s WSOP will not attract the crowds that it usually does because the economy is in such a rut.  However, the Commissioner of the WSOP, Jeffrey Pollack, who is also VP of Harrah’s Entertainment, makes the statement, “If you’re a first-time player or a seasoned pro, we have something for you.”  He points to event-4, a four-day no-limit Hold’em tournament with only a $1,000 buy-in.  That event alone is expected to attract between 5,000 – 6,000 entrants.

The 2009 World Series will also feature ten $10,000 championship events.  It has been announced by ESPN, who televises WSOP events every year, will only tape four events this year, and all of them are no-limit Hold’em.  That means the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, considered by some to be the most prestigious tournament of the whole series, will not be televised this year.  Last year’s $50k H.O.R.S.E. event was marred somewhat by a series of drunken outbursts and awkward moments at the final table between Scotty Nguyen and just about everyone else at the table (and in the crowd).  Scotty went on to win the bracelet and did apologize afterward.

The final table of the Main Event will once again be postponed for four months.  Television execs said that format helped raise ratings from the year before and they obviously hope that trend continues.