World Series of Poker - Official Tournament Coverage and Results
Friday, June 20, 2008 2:43:08 AM PT

39th ANNUAL WORLD SERIES OF POKERĀ® RUNNING STRONG AT HALF-WAY POINT

LAS VEGAS – June 19, 2008 – It took until just the second event of the 2008 World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light to know it was going to be another strong year.  A record 3,929 poker enthusiasts put up $1,500 each to compete in the first No Limit Hold’em event and things have continued to build nicely since.

The 3,929 entrants were the most-ever for a non-Main Event field and, through 30 events at the 2008 WSOP, the statistics are on target for another stellar year.  Among the numbers, thus far (through 30 events):

• 24,642 entrants
• 821 average entrants per event
• $59,117,189 in total prize money awarded
• $1,970,573 average prize pool per event
• $439,545 average first place prize per event

The storylines at the 2008 World Series of Poker are as colorful as ever:

• KC’s Finest: The Hinkle Brothers, from Kansas City, Missouri became the first-ever set of brothers to win bracelets in the same year.  Grant won Event #2 and $831,432, with Blair winning Event #23 and $507,563.  The Hinkle’s become only the second set of brothers to win bracelets at the WSOP, joining the Pearson’s, Puggy (1973) and J.C. (1994).

• Is The Tide Turning?: Amateurs have had a lot of success at the World Series of Poker in recent years, including the record six consecutive years the Main Event has been won by an amateur.  But this year professional poker players have won 23 of 30 (77%) of the bracelets handed out thus far.  One of the best pros never to win a bracelet has shed that label.  Erick Lindgren won his first bracelet and currently is tied for the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year standings, while notables Daniel Negreanu, David Singer, Barry Greenstein, Max Pescatori and Mike Matusow have all captured gold during the first half of this WSOP.

• The Real “World”: The World Series of Poker has seen an astounding influx of international players participating and cashing at the WSOP in recent years.  In 2007, a record 87 countries and territories had entrants in the WSOP.  This year shows that players cashing in tournaments are consistently from all corners of the globe.  Through 30 events, 37 different countries have had an entrant cash.  They are: Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; China; Denmark; England; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Guatemala; Hungary; Indonesia; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Lebanon; Lithuania; Mexico; Monaco; Netherlands; Norway; Peru; Romania; Russia; Scotland; Slovakia; Sweden; Switzerland; United States and Venezuela.

• Where’s Vermont?: Through 30 events, all of the states in United States (and D.C.) have had at least one entrant cash in this year’s World Series of Poker – except Vermont.

• Sporting an Appearance: Baseball great Orel Hershiser, hockey star Jeremy Roenick, Miami Heat basketball player Earl Barron and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss have all been seen playing during this year’s WSOP. 

The Name Game:  These folks are standing out at this year’s WSOP: (through 30 events)

• Most events entered this year:
o  Thomas McCormick (23)
o  Sirous Jamshidi (22)
o  Amnon Filippi (21)
o  Justin Bonomo (21)
o  Phil Ivey (21)

• Most event cashes this year:
o Nikolay Evdakov (6)
o Rolf Slotboom (5)
o Tom Schneider (5)
o Kathy Liebert (5)
o Alex Jacob (5)
o  Roland Isra (5)

• Highest cash percentage this year:
o Kathy Liebert - 62.5% (5 of 8 events entered)
o Sarah Bilney - 50%  (4 of 8 events entered)
o Tom Lee - 50%  (3 of 6 events entered)
o Peter Debest - 50%  (3 of 6 events entered)
o Calen McNeil - 50%  (3 of 6 events entered)

• Most final tables reached this year:  2 (11 players tied)
o Chris Bjorin; Andy Bloch; Alex Bolotin; Scott Clements; Jacobo Fernandez; Fu Wong; Minh Ly; Daniel Negreanu; J.C. Tran; Theo Tran

• Money leaders at this year’s WSOP:
o Grant Hinkle - $831,462 (1 cash)
o Phil Galfond - $817,781 (1 cash)
o Nenad Medic - $810,608 (2 cashes)
o Scott Seiver - 781,866 (3 cashes)
o Duncan Bell - $666,697 (1 cash)

• Tracking the Big Three:  Phil Hellmuth, 11 bracelets, and Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson with 10 each have been busy trying to add to their lofty totals.  Here are their results, thus far, at the 39th annual WSOP:
o Hellmuth:  Events entered: 15; Events Cashed: 2; Total Money Won: $106,896
o Brunson: Events entered: 7; Events Cashed: 1; Total Money Won: $16,243
o Chan: Events entered: 9; Events Cashed: 2; Total Money Won: $273,946

The 39th annual World Series of Poker continues through July 14th at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  The Main Event will begin on July 3rd, with the Final Table being determined on July 14th. The nine players who advance to the Final Table will return to the Rio on November 9th to play down to just two players.   The final two, will go head-to-head late in the evening on November 10th to determine the champion and winner of poker’s ultimate prize on November 11th, when it will be aired same-day in primetime on ESPN.

ABOUT THE WSOP
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world. 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 2007, the event attracted more than 54,000 entrants from 87 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded just under $160 million in prize money as players competed for game’s most coveted trophy, a WSOP bracelet.  Harrah’s License Company, LLC., an affiliate of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., has owned and operated the WSOP since 2004 and over the last four years, fostered an increase in player participation by nearly 300-percent.  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 Europe. For more information on the WSOP, please visit www.worldseriesofpoker.com.

ABOUT HARRAH’S ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 70 years ago, Harrah's has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions, and now owns or manages casinos on four continents. The Company's properties operate primarily under the Harrah's®, Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names; Harrah's also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos and the World Series of Poker®. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. For more information, visit www.harrahs.com.