Thursday, May 1, 2008 | 1:07 p.m.
The final nine players in the World Series of Poker main event will compete for the tournament title on Nov. 9-10 at the Rio instead of the originally scheduled date of July 16, a move designed to create more excitement around the final table.
The rest of the World Series of Poker schedule will remain the same, World Series commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said today. The 39th annual World Series will begin May 30 with the $10,000-entry main event starting July 3 and the final table determined July 14.
The nine players who advance to the final table will then take a break of 117 days before resuming the tournament Nov. 9, when they will play down to two players. The final two will go head-to-head on the evening of Nov. 10 to determine the winner.
ESPN will edit the two-day final table action and televise it in a two-hour program on Tuesday, Nov. 11, less than 24 hours after the championship has been decided.
"We want as many people as possible around the world talking about who's going to win," Pollack said. "If the end result is that there's more buzz and water-cooler talk, just as there would be before the Super Bowl or the last game of the NBA Finals or the Daytona 500, then we have done a good thing for the entire game of poker."
Each of the nine final-table players will receive ninth-place prize money on July 14 along with a trip for two for their return to Las Vegas in November, when they will compete for the remainder of the prize money, which will be held in an interest-bearing account.
ESPN will begin its coverage of the 2008 World Series of Poker on Tuesday, July 22. Viewers will see two hours of new World Series programming every Tuesday through Nov. 11, including a special preview of the final table Nov. 4.