Wednesday, June 9, 2010 7:35:42 PM PT

ANDREW BARTON WINS SEAT INTO WSOP TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

UK-WSOP.com SPONSOR EXEMPTION SEAT FOR 2010 TOC
ANDREW BARTON WINS SEAT INTO WSOP TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
 
WSOP.com Qualifier Emerges; Headed to Las Vegas To Compete Against Poker’s All-Stars

LAS VEGAS – June 9, 2010 – WSOP.com, the UK-only facing online poker website of the World Series of Poker, announced today that Andrew Barton, 33, from Dudley, England, has won his way to the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas to compete in the 2010 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions on Sunday, June 27.

Barton wins a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that includes an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas; a seat into the internationally televised-poker tournament; a chance to compete for up to $1 million in prize money; and the distinction of being the lone non-poker professional to sit among the game’s greatest players in the center of the poker universe, the World Series of Poker in the famed Amazon Room at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Barton, a collections driver for Dudley Mail in his hometown, becomes the 26th of 27 entrants into poker’s all-star game.

“Regardless of the outcome I’m going to enjoy every moment of my time out there,” said Barton. “I feel like a winner already.  This is such a great opportunity for me, once in a lifetime.  June 27th is a new game, so I will treat it like I do any other game I play.”
    
The WSOP.com TOC grand prize winner has never been to Las Vegas before, but hopes this won’t be his last time here.  Barton has been playing poker for five years, after learning to play via his computer.  He has won a poker trip before, attending the Aussie Millions in 2008 and making it to Day 2 in his first-ever live tournament.

Barton lists his favorite three players as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and Doyle Brunson.  And as fate may have it, Barton will likely meet them during his trip, and also stands the chance to play alongside or even bust one or more of them out of the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions.

The U.K. resident will join a field of 20 Poker All-Stars, as voted on by the fans at www.wsop.com/TOC (voting remains open through June 15), and 5 automatic entrants: Annie Duke, Mike Matusow, Mike Sexton, Barry Shulman and Joe Cada.

In addition, Thursday, a sudden-death playoff tournament between Tom Dwan, Andy Bloch, Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier, Gus Hansen, actor Don Cheadle, Sorel Mizzi, Michael Mizrachi, Liv Boeree and Paul Wasicka will determine the 27th and final participant via the WSOP Academy sponsor-exemption.

Play will convene at the Rio on Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 12 noon to begin the tournament.  Players will play until they bust out or four one-hour levels, whichever comes first.  Then all remaining players return the next day, on Monday, June 28 at 12 noon to play up to an additional four levels. Play will then halt at that point, and all remaining players will return on Sunday, July 4, 2010 to play for their share of 1,000,000 dollars and the title of 2010 WSOP TOC Champion.  The tournament times and dates have been scheduled to minimize conflict with other WSOP events.  WSOP Event #46 final table will begin at 4:00 PM on June 27 as part of the scheduling.

The WSOP Tournament of Champions was started by the WSOP in 2004, after Harrah’s took ownership of the World Series of Poker brand.  In the inaugural event, ten top names were invited to participate in the freeroll event structured as a winner-take-all.  Duke won the event at the Rio.

In 2005, the TOC was won by Matusow at Caesars Palace, with an expanded field of 114 entrants competing in the freeroll, with the top nine places cashing.

The TOC event last took place in 2006 at the Rio, when 27 of the games greatest took to the felt in the freeroll, with the final table all walking away with prize money and 2009 Poker Hall of Fame inductee Sexton walking away with the top prize.

This year’s TOC will be a No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament with the top nine places being paid.  First place will win $500,000, the runner-up gets $250,000, third place earns $100,000 and the fourth through ninth place pockets $25,000 each.

Details on how to cast your vote and rules can all be found at www.WSOP.com.   The public will be able to track the voting, with the top 50 vote-getters listed and updated automatically after each ballot is completed.  In an effort to avoid ballot-stuffing, the tally of individual votes won’t be divulged during the open voting period, and balloters will be required to complete an authentication process to ensure one vote per email address.

The WSOP, an annual poker games extravaganza, which dates back to 1970, is televised exclusively on ESPN from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and consists of a comprehensive slate of the game’s most popular variations running from May 27-July 17, 2010.

ABOUT THE WSOP
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970.  In 2009, the event attracted 60,875 entrants from 115 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded over $174 million in prize money.  The WSOP in December, 2008 was named the 7th most admired sports brand in North America by the Turnkey Sports Survey, trailing only the older and more established NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR and PGA Tour among sports properties.  In addition, the WSOP has experienced groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker EuropeSM. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit our website at www.wsop.com.