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April 19, 2014

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World Poker Tour returns to Bellagio for 11th anniversary tournament

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

The World Poker Tour’s Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio on Dec. 10, 2011.

2011 World Poker Tour Final Table

The World Poker Tour's Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio on Dec. 10, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Doyle Brunson’s Five Diamond World Poker Tour Classic has earned a reputation as one of the world’s premiere poker events. Few are more renowned, and the 11th anniversary season play begins today at the Bellagio.

Last week, the tour had its first-ever events in Montreal, setting Canadian records, and, after Las Vegas, it heads to its first-ever event in China. Before the players leave the Strip, I will join the Royal Flush Girls at the televised Final Table on Sunday.

“In 2002, a young newcomer named Gus Hansen set the poker world on fire with his aggressive style at the World Poker Tour’s first televised Final Table,” said WPT President Adam Pliska. “That performance coupled with Bellagio’s reputation as the home of high-stakes poker in Las Vegas set the stage to make the classic one of the most prestigious events. It’s grown in size and prestige since then.”

The list of champions also includes Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and our defending champion James Demsey. This year’s event is expected to draw some of the biggest names in poker -- Antonio, Jason Mercier, Season 10 Player of the Year Joe Serock, Phil Laak, Noah Schwartz, Jonathan Little, Joseph Cheong, Daniel Elias and Dwyte Pilgrim.

They compete to become the next player to have their name added to the Champions Cup while putting themselves in contention to become WPT Season 11 Player of the Year.

Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten and Kimberly Lansing are commentators for the Final Table, which airs on Fox Sports next year, but live streaming will be hosted on WorldPokerTour.com with Raw Deal analyst Tony Dunst starting 4:30 p.m. P.T. on Sunday. The Bellagio WPT Classic will broadcast to more than 150 countries and territories.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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