43rd Annual World Series of Poker® Schedule Announced

World’s Biggest, Richest, Longest-Running and Most Prestigious Poker Series
To Run May 27 through July 16, 2012 at the Rio® All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas

Main Event Championship Begins July 7th; Total of 61 Gold Bracelets At Stake

Rio’s Tournament Arena Expands by Nearly 100 Tables!

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 1, 2012) – The 43rd annual World Series of Poker® (WSOP®) Presented by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky -- a set of poker tournaments open to anyone 21 years of age or older – officially puts cards in the air on Sunday, May 27, 2012.  The first open WSOP gold bracelet event will take place on Memorial Day Monday, May 28 – with a $1500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament to start things off in exciting fashion. 

The annual poker extravaganza, which dates back to 1970, is televised exclusively on ESPN from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The tournament series consists of a comprehensive slate of the game’s most popular poker variations running from May 27 through July 16.

A total of 61 coveted WSOP gold bracelets will be up for grabs in 2012 – which is three more than last year.

"This year’s WSOP schedule is very exciting,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, who will oversee the event for the seventh consecutive year. “We’re introducing some fantastic new events, while bringing back many successful stalwarts that our players love.  We will expand our footprint this year to include extra tables dedicated to cash games, as well as plenty of satellite and single-day tournament space, so players will have an easy time finding a desirable game without ever having to leave the Rio Convention Center.”  

In terms of layout, 2012 promises to be the biggest yet.  An additional 92 poker tables will be put in play in 2012, with the Brasilia Ballroom providing the additional tables not in use last year.  In all, the WSOP anticipates 470 poker tables in use throughout the summer – up from 378 in play during last year’s record-setting series in the Rio’s Convention Center.

Throughout June, Saturday and Sunday action will remain focused on catering to the so-called “weekend warriors,” with affordable buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournaments for WSOP gold bracelets at $1,500 on Saturdays and $1,000 on Sundays.  The opening weekend (June 2 & 3) features a re-entry $1500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event 9A/B), where players can play on Saturday and re-enter on Sunday if they get knocked out the first day.  July 4 and 5 will feature a multi-day start $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #59) and serve as the appetizer prior to the start of every poker player’s favorite entrée – the WSOP Main Event Championship.

Poker history will also be made on July 1 when the World Series of Poker will contest the highest buy-in poker tournament in history – at $1,000,000.  (Details below)

The 43rd annual WSOP concludes with the grandest spectacle in all of gaming – the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (aka “The Main Event”) (Event #61), which begins play Saturday, July 7 and will reach its final table (nine players) on Monday, July 16, at which time play will be halted. 

Due to the increased table capacity, just three starting days will be necessary for the WSOP Main Event.  Participants will begin their journey to fame and fortune on Saturday, July 7, Sunday, July 8 or Monday, July 9.   Day 2 of the structure will be contested on Tuesday, July 10 for all players who played on Days 1A (Saturday) or 1B (Sunday).  Survivors, who started playing on Day 1C (Monday) and still have chips, will play their Day 2 on Wednesday, July 11. 

All fields will combine for the first time to form Day 3 on Thursday, July 12.  Note that there will be no scheduled off day this year.  In totality, those playing the Day 1A session can reach the final table in, at most, 10 days.  Players choosing to start on Day 1C can reach the final table in just eight days.  The event will play five full levels each day, shaving one more day from last year’s schedule.

These changes provide many benefits to the players.   Most important is the time commitment when determining whether to enter the event.   Shortening the WSOP Main Event by three full days is expected to encourage greater participation.  In addition, the costs associated with playing the event are reduced and there is less downtime between play.  It is important to note that changes to the WSOP Main Event do not include the tournament structure itself.  The world’s best tournament structure remains exactly the same, with 30,000 in starting chips, two hour levels, with Level 1 starting at 50-100 blinds with no ante.  In short, the 2012 WSOP keeps the most popular aspects of the tournament that have worked so well in the past, enhanced by a more convenient schedule.

One more important note relating to the WSOP Main Event: as is now customary, the delayed final table shall return but will be contested one week earlier than in previous years.  With the U.S. Presidential Election slated for the first Tuesday in November, the WSOP Main Event final table will be held in two stages, from nine players playing down to two on Sunday, October 28th, with heads up play on Tuesday, October 30th.  Once again, the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio will host the finale, in front of an anticipated live television audience on ESPN and ESPN2.

Other highlights of the 2012 WSOP schedule include:

The opening weekend (June 2-3) features a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #9A/9B), which for the first time will allow re-entry.  Players who participate in Saturday’s Flight A will have the ability to buy-in to Sunday’s Flight B if they are eliminated during Saturday’s play.  The event includes two starting flights – one each on Saturday and Sunday at 12 p.m.  Players do not have to re-enter.  They can choose either Saturday or Sunday as their starting day and remain in play as long as they have chips.  Day 2 for all surviving players will be Monday, June 4. 

Once again, the entire convention center of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino will be exclusively dedicated to the 2012 World Series of Poker, with poker tables in the 55,000 square-foot Pavilion Ballroom, the 39,000 square-foot Amazon Room and the 20,000 square-foot Brasilia Ballroom.  The number of poker tables expected to be in play during the 2012 WSOP will be the largest amount ever deployed.

Playing Time:  There have been a few tweaks to playing times for the 43rd Annual WSOP.  Almost all WSOP gold bracelet tournaments will begin at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time each day, with a maximum of 10 one-hour levels being played for the noon starts if the field size is under 1,500 players.  If the field size reaches 1,500 players or more, 11 levels will be contested on Day 1.  Thus, noon tournaments will end at 12:40 a.m. and include four 20-minute breaks and a 90-minute dinner break after level 6.  For events where an 11th level is necessary, play will extend to 2 a.m., with an extra break of 20 minutes after level 10.  This adjustment of playing time based on field size is intended to help keep tournaments to their three-day schedule and increase the chances of reaching the money by the end of the first day.

The 5 p.m. events will be comprised of a maximum of eight one-hour levels on Day 1.   Day 1 play is expected to conclude at 2 a.m. and feature two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute break after level 4.

For those advancing past the first day, re-starts for noon bracelet events will now be at 1 p.m.  Events that start at 5 p.m. will restart at 2 p.m., with a maximum of 10 levels being played each day until a champion is crowned.  The Main Event features two-hour levels, with play beginning at 12 p.m. each day and ending at 12:40 a.m. each day.

The Seniors event will begin at 10 a.m. this year.  The Big One for One Drop will begin at 1:11 p.m.

Registration for all bracelet events will remain open through four levels of play – or until all available seats have been sold.   This means players can register as late as 4:40 p.m. for noon tournaments and 9:45 p.m. for the 5 p.m. tournaments. The only exceptions to this are the Main Event, which will remain open for its customary two levels (or four hours of play) and the $50,000 Poker Players Championship which will take registrants until the start of play on Day 2, which is the start of Level 6 of the structure.

Pre-registration for the 2012 WSOP will be available online through beginning February 8, 2012. 

All Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas offer special reduced hotel room rates for entrants of WSOP bracelet events.  Rates start as low as $69 for players staying at the host property, Rio.  On the Las Vegas Strip – the Imperial Palace offers rates as low as $35.  Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris and Caesars Palace provide WSOP player rates as low as $40-$110 a night.  Click here for the special WSOP player hotel rates.

The 2012 WSOP marks the 43rd running of the game’s most prestigious annual tournament.   In 2011, the WSOP generated the most entries ever (75,672) from 105 different nations.  Players competed for more than $192 million as a total of 58 championship gold bracelets, globally recognized as the game’s top prize, were awarded.  Attendance and prize pool numbers in 2011 were both at historic highs.

To view the entire schedule, visit, where you will be able to download event structures, pre-registration forms and even link it to your Facebook, Twitter or other social network sites. 

Among the highlights of the 2012 schedule:

• 61 gold bracelet events over 50 days.

• Superb Structures & Starting Chips – All gold bracelet events in 2012 will feature triple the buy-in in starting chips and deep structures, providing plenty of play.

• New Event -- $3,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha – To inject this year’s WSOP with some early excitement, this event (Event #3) combines the two most popular games played today in a Heads Up format (512 player cap) and should be a thrilling rollercoaster ride for the game’s young guns.  Players will alternate between games each 20-minute level.  Debuts Tuesday, May 29 at 12 p.m.

• New Event -- $5,000 Mix-Max No-Limit Hold’em – Playing in this event will require players to have the skills to play 9-handed (on Day 1), 6-handed (on Day 2) and in a heads-up format, if they can make it to the final 32 players in the event.  Players will carry their chips throughout and be re-seeded when 32 players remain, with the highest chip total facing the lowest, etc.  The event (Event #6) is structured as a four-day event and begins on Thursday, May 31 at 12 p.m.  This event was played at WSOP Europe with Michael Mizrachi winning.

• New Event -- $2,500 Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em – It’s not Heads Up poker, nor is it six-handed; it’s a new variation, four-handed No-Limit Hold’em, where each table will start with a maximum of four players.   For those action junkies who excel at short-handed No-Limit Hold’em, this is a game created for you.  It is Event #28 on the schedule, debuting Thursday, June 14 at 12 p.m.

• New Event -- $1,500 Ante Only No-Limit Hold’em – In a twist on traditional No-Limit Hold’em poker, this event will be played without the small and big blind bets.  All players at the table will ante to begin every hand, with the person to the left of the button starting the action  with a choice of  folding or bringing in the minimum chip amount in play.  The event will create a lot of action and multiple-player pots.  It’s Event #49 starting on Wednesday, June 27 at 12 p.m.

• New Event -- $1,000,000 buy-in, Big One For ONE DROP – Never before has a player had to pony up $1,000,000 just to enter a poker tournament.  Typically this is what players are accustomed to winning, but for the first time, the WSOP will put on a $1,000,000 buy-in bracelet event.  The event (Event #55) will begin at 1:11 p.m. on Sunday, July 1 and play out as a three-day event and likely award the largest first place prize in poker history.  The event will be televised by ESPN. 11.1% of the buy-in will support

• New Exhibition Event -- $560 Doubles No-Limit Hold’em – Find a partner and take a seat!  In this special one-day, non-bracelet event, players pair up and work together to win.  Players will alternate playing each level, using one stack to guide their team to victory.  Scheduled on Saturday, June 30 at 10 a.m.

• New Exhibition Event -- $560 Bracelet Bounty No-Limit Hold’em – To reward the fraternity of players with a bracelet, all are welcome to enter this one-day non-bracelet event that will feature bounties placed on any WSOP bracelet winners in the field.  It will occur on Friday, July 6 at 12 p.m.  Who will knock out the most bracelet winners and will a bracelet winner be able to outlast this field gunning for them?

• $50K Poker Players Championship – The Chip Reese Memorial Trophy is up for grabs at the $50,000 buy-in eight-game mixed event, also dubbed the “Poker Players Championship.”  This eight-game format will serve as the true test of the game’s greatest all-around player.  Event #45 starts on Sunday, June 24 at 5 p.m.  Registration will remain open until the start of Day 2, which is just prior to the start of Level 6 of the event.

• The Seniors-Only No-Limit Hold’em Championship – On Friday, June 15 at 10:00 a.m., Event #29 featuring a $1,000 buy-in for all poker enthusiasts 50 years of age or older.  In 2011, this event set a record when 3,752 players entered – the most ever on one day -- and the winner walked away with $557,435 for his $1,000 investment. 

• The Ladies Only No-Limit Hold’em Championship – On Friday, June 29 at 12 p.m., featuring a $1,000 buy-in for the Ladies world championship (Event #51).

• Daily Deepstack No-Limit Hold’em Tournaments – The Rio will host three different daily No-Limit Hold’em tournaments from May 27 to July 16.  At 2 p.m. daily, $235 buy-in events begin.  At 6 p.m., players can play the daily $185 buy-in tournament and at 10 p.m., a daily $135 tournament will be offered. These are one-day structured tournaments, and not bracelet events.  These events will take place in the Pavilion Ballroom.

• Satellites Every Day! -- A complete array of satellites, from single-table to mega, will be offered from May 27 - July 9.  Mega satellites with buy-ins at $330 for the daily 4 p.m. and $550 buy-in for the daily 8 p.m. start.

All winners will be required to provide a valid picture ID.  Tax forms will be completed for those with winnings in excess of $5,000 net of event buy-in.  Players without a Tax Identification Number and foreign players from non-tax treaty countries are subject to up to 30 percent tax withholding.  WSOP reserves the right to cancel, change or modify the tournament or any tournament event, in part or in whole, without notice.

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 2011, the event attracted 75,672 entrants from 105 different nations to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and awarded more than $192 million in prize money.  For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit our website at