Harrah’s to Launch a WSOP Poker Room Causes Buzz
After the recent announcement by Harrah’s Entertainment, owner of the World Series of Poker, that they have joined up with 888 Holdings to launch a WSOP online poker site, many people have become stirred up, including poker’s brattiest, Phil Helmuth, himself.
The site, which is scheduled to open in 2010, is a potential threat to any and all established online poker rooms that have, thus far, coexisted peacefully in their own little corners of the Net. The fear has been instilled for quite sometime that perhaps legalizing online gambling in the US may shake the current system that currently works so well. With the presence of the all-powerful land-based gambling brands (i.e. Harrah’s) in online poker, there are quite a few reasons for concern.
The current big names in the industry, Full Tilt and PokerStars, bring in quite a bit of traffic for their WSOP satellite events, and many of their players go on to do quite well in the series, displaying the sites’ logos on everything from sunglasses to clothing. What scares these poker rooms is that Harrah’s may suddenly deny the existing poker rooms the right to promote the WSOP and only allow satellites to run through their site, thus, monopolizing the series. Furthermore, should Harrah’s restrict the rights for other sites to advertise at the event, the future of virtually every online poker room would be threatened.
This is wear Hellmuth comes in. In a spot on Sereus Channel 98’s Hard Core Poker show, he expressed his hostility towards Harrah’s, their involvement with the WSOP, and their forthcoming emergence into the online poker industry. He admits that he’s still sore with the operation for denying to comp his room during the series this past summer, stating that they make money off of his face and name and don’t show him the respect he deserves. He also stated that he thinks more money should be paid out back to the players.
As for the online poker sites, Hellmuth says, “There’s a huge battle brewing.” He has also mentioned that these sites may in fact start their own series and leave the WSOP in the dust, where it will “become worth nothing.”
To top it all off, Hellmuth has taken it upon himself to be coach to the November Nine anti-WSOP world champion contender, Jeff Shulman, who has declared that he will throw his bracelet away, or something to that effect, should he win the tournament in November. The poker players are rising up against the WSOP with the Poker Brat driving the bus, so there may actually be an uprising, eventually. Hellmuth claims that Howard Lederer, co-founder of Full Tilt Poker, is also on board to coup the WSOP should the need arise.
Harrah’s emergence into the online poker industry was first foreshadowed when they hired on Mitch Garber, ex-PartyPoker CEO to run their online division. There have also been rumors that Harrah’s was planning on launching a Caesar’s Palace gambling site, as well.
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