LAS VEGAS – June 8, 2010 – The World Series of Poker Academy, the exclusive educational provider for the World Series of Poker, announced today that they were awarded the final sponsor exemption seat for the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions. 
 
The WSOP Academy will hold a single table “sudden-death playoff” tournament for nine players who were not eligible for the public voting to fill the final seat.
 
Tom “Durr” Dwan, Andy Bloch, Bertrand “ElKy” Grospellier, Gus Hansen, actor Don Cheadle, Sorel Mizzi, Michael Mizrachi, Liv Boeree and Paul Wasicka will battle it out to play poker in the WSOP Tournament of Champions All-Star event and a chance at the $1 million prize pool.
 
The WSOP Academy tournament will be held on June 10th at 12:00 PST.  

"Now poker has a playoff game to go with its All-Star Game," said WSOP vice president Ty Stewart.

The Tournament of Champions is the premier All-Star Event in all of poker. This freeroll poker invitational features 27 players; 20 selected by public voting, 5 automatic entries and 2 sponsor exemption entries. To be eligible for voting, players must be a WSOP bracelet-holder. Entering the 2010 WSOP, there were 521 WSOP bracelet holders eligible for the vote, which began March 15 on www.WSOP.com/TOC and will remain open through June 15, 2010 at midnight ET.

The five automatic entries into the tournament are the three previous WSOP TOC winners [Annie Duke, Mike Matusow & Mike Sexton], the reigning WSOP champion [Joe Cada] and the reigning WSOP Europe champion [Barry Shulman].

“The WSOP Academy will utilize the sponsor seat at the TOC to highlight the talents of players who are champions in their own right but did not have an opportunity to be voted into the TOC,” said Jeff Goldenberg, CEO of the WSOP Academy. “We have created a unique opportunity for our customers to watch and learn from these players as they battle for a highly coveted prize. We expect to see some great poker!”

The sponsor’s exemption tournament will be filmed for exclusive use by the WSOP Academy. Ali Nejad and Phil Hellmuth will provide hand-by-hand analysis and expert commentary of the tournament. The content will be available to WSOP Academy customers through its website and live events. The winner will be announced upon the tournament’s conclusion.

As the exclusive education partner to the WSOP, the WSOP Academy is dedicated to bringing entertaining, educational and engaging experiences to poker players at the WSOP. The WSOP Academy will host the new Mind & Body Academy on July 4th with Mindset Guru Sam Chauhan and FBI Expert Joe Navarro. The 2-day Advanced Main Event Primer on July 2nd - 3rd has been revamped for 2010. Players will learn to think and analyze tournament situations like the pros, techniques to manage difficult situations and how to fine tune their poker game and fix their leaks.

Every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 4pm in the Bad Beat Bar and Lounge in the Brasilia Room at the Rio in Las Vegas, the WSOP Academy will host free seminars, poker IQ clinics, book signings and autograph sessions. Scheduled to appear this year are Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Doyle Brunson, Greg Raymer, Mark Seif, Joe Navarro, Sam Chauhan, Bernard Lee, Ali Nejad and more. Visit www.wsopacademy.com for more information.

ABOUT THE WSOP ACADEMY
The World Series of Poker Academy is the exclusive provider of live poker training to the most prestigious set of poker tournaments in the world, the World Series of Poker. The WSOP Academy delivers groundbreaking instructional programs to players of all skill levels including tournament primers and breakthrough events like the Mind & Body Academy. Players have the opportunity to learn directly from the top champions of the game including Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Greg Raymer, Mark Seif and Joe Navarro. Please visit: www.wsopacademy.com for more information or follow us at www.facebook.com/wsopacademy or www.twitter.com/wsopacademy

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.