WSOP ANNOUNCES 2011-12 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE

JULY 15, 2011 - 7:30:00 AM PST   |   WSOP Staff

WSOP ANNOUNCES 2011-12 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE
Participants Again to Compete For Shot at WSOP National Championship 
Including $1 Million+ Tournament and Gold Bracelet

LAS VEGAS – July 15, 2011 – The eighth season of the WSOP Circuit has been formalized.  Once again, several exciting enhancements have been implemented, all leading to the most dramatic conclusion to any season played so far.

The tour begins September 8 with a brand new-stop in Bossier City, Louisiana and continues all the way through the following May.   A revised points-ranking system for all tournament participants will be used throughout and will reward those players who participate in multiple events.

The unofficial motto of this year’s WSOP Circuit Tour is “12 Rings in 12 Days.”  Each WSOP Circuit stop has been retooled to begin on a Thursday, and open the three-day Main Event on the second Saturday, thereby encompassing a total of 12 official WSOP gold ring events over 12 consecutive days, and offering players non-stop poker action at the regional level.

Each stop will conclude with a $1,600 buy-in Main Event Championship slated to always start on a Saturday. For the first time ever, this tournament will be played as re-entry, with a morning and an evening flight available to players. No Regional Championships with $10,000 buy-ins will be offered this season.  All buy-ins will be priced between $300 and $1,600 in order to allow as many players as possible to participate and the opportunity to make poker history by winning a WSOP gold bracelet.

Each WSOP Circuit stop Main Event winner will receive an automatic berth into the National Championship.  Automatic bids will also go to the “Casino Champions” at each participating venue. A Casino Champion is defined as the player at each stop whom accumulates the most points throughout the 12-event gold ring schedule.

The elimination of the Regional Championships means a majority of the 100 free-rolled seats will be generated via cumulative points. Based upon the current schedule, 32 players would receive an exempt seat to the National Championship, while 68 players would qualify based upon rankings points. This is a dramatic increase over last year’s point model, allowing nearly twice as many at-large bids into the National Championship.  This goal is simple – to reward those poker players who play the most and do the best.
 
The point-system formula has also been tweaked for this year.  All players who cash in sanctioned WSOP Circuit ring events receive points on a sliding scale.  All ring events -- except for the Main Events -- award 50 points for first place.  Then on a sliding scale downward the finishers gain points all the way to 2.5 points just for cashing.  The Main Event awards no points to the winner (since he/she automatically qualifies to the National Championship).  Each second-place finisher will receive 50 points (the equivalent of what a winner of a $300-$1000 buy-in event gets) to ensure there is an active “race” for the Casino Champion exemption.

This year’s season-ending WSOP National Championship will include several new and exciting enhancements which will increase the prize pool and the profile of the event.

1. The WSOP National Championship will again be nationally televised, with a significant increase in programming expected. 

2. Each of the qualifiers from the WSOP Circuit will receive $10,000 buy-in seats, plus a $500 travel stipend and 3 night’s hotel accommodations.

3. The top 100 players in the new “WSOP World Rankings” will have the ability to buy into the National Championship tournament to compete against the best-of-the-best from the Circuit, for $10,000 a seat.  The World Rankings will recognize cumulative performance in the open events at World Series of Poker and World Series of Poker Europe over a two-year period and will be released in November, 2011.

4. All monies coming from additional buy-in entries will be added directly to the prize pool and the payout for the event is expected to be a standard average around 10 percent of the field.

Thus, the National Championship could feature as many as 200 players – who have proven their excellence at WSOP sanctioned events.  One-hundred players will come from the WSOP Circuit, and the other 100 may be made up of those who enjoyed success in the open bracelet events at the 2010 or 2011 WSOP and WSOP Europe. 

As expected, the majority of the 100 WSOP World Ranking qualifiers will have won gold bracelets, ensuring an exciting mix of well-known superstars and true tournament grinders discovered throughout the season-long journey on the WSOP Circuit Tour.

“We made great strides with the WSOP Circuit tour last year,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.  “But we also learned a lot.  We’ve rid ourselves of the things that didn’t work and added several new exciting wrinkles that will pit the best American tournament grinders against top performing worldwide players in a culminating championship befitting the grandest stage the World Series of Poker can offer.”

The exact date of the WSOPC National Championship is still to be determined.

As was first introduced last year, all WSOP Circuit Tour stops will feature standardized tournament structures and payouts.  So players going from stop to stop will be treated in a consistent manner at each of the stops.

This year’s tour includes 15 returning venues from the 2010-11 season, plus the addition of Bossier City (Louisiana) as our kickoff stop. The 2010-11 WSOP Circuit Tour featured 15 stops, consisting of 150 gold ring events which attracted a record-total of 49,453 entries – the most ever in the history of the WSOP Circuit.  Sam Barnhart, a 50-year-old software analyst and researcher from Little Rock, Arkansas won the inaugural National Championship, winning $300,000 plus a WSOP gold bracelet.

The entire 2011-12 schedule can be found at http://www.wsop.com/schedule/wsopcircuit.asp

Circuit schedules are subject to change.  Stops may be added or removed. For more information on individual circuit events, including event schedules and structure sheets, can be found at each property website or by visiting www.WSOP.com

*The WSOP Circuit Events and culminating championship are subject to tournament rules and restrictions to be released at a later date. The timing, number and location of events are subject to change and all applicable gaming regulations.

 
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