- Andrew Feldman, ESPN.com
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The nine players who qualify for the final table at the 2008 World Series of Poker will return to Las Vegas in November to play for the title.
That's a change from previous years, when the finals were played a day after the field got down to nine players. That is scheduled to happen on July 16.
With this change, the players will return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, which will host the event, on Nov. 9 to begin the final table. The "heads-up" final will start "late in the evening" on Nov. 10, with a champion crowned Nov. 11.
Television coverage of the finals will be shown on ESPN starting at 9 p.m. ET on Nov. 11.
The finale will culminate a record 20 hours of WSOP main event coverage on ESPN. There will also be six bracelet events. Taped coverage begins July 22 and will air on Tuesday nights through the finals.
"The innovative change -- offering fans an enhanced way of following the excitement and drama of high-stakes tournament play -- was made in collaboration between the WSOP, ESPN and the WSOP Players Advisory Council," tournament organizers announced in a news release.
"It's an exciting time for the World Series of Poker and ESPN," said Jamie Horowitz, senior producer, ESPN content development. "This adjustment will add a new element to a very successful and popular event. We look forward to documenting all of the exciting stories that make the main event the seminal competition in all of poker."
Added Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker: "Our intent is to provide an even stronger tournament for all poker players and the entire poker industry. Now fans will ask 'who will win' our coveted championship bracelet and millions of dollars instead of 'Who won?' The excitement and interest that will surround our final nine players will be unprecedented."
The tentative schedule of TV coverage for this year's event is as follows:
• July 22 - Event 1: $10,000 pot-limit hold 'em
• July 29 - Event 2: $1,500 no-limit hold 'em
• Aug. 5 - Event 3: $1,500 pot-limit hold 'em or Event 4: $5,000 mixed hold 'em
• Aug. 12 - Event 5: $1,000 no-limit hold 'em with rebuys
• Aug. 19 - Event 45: $50,000 HORSE
• Aug. 26 - Event 50: $10,000 pot-limit Omaha
• Sept. 2 to Oct. 28 - Event 55: $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event
• Nov. 4 - Event 55: WSOP main event final table preview show
• Nov. 11 - Event 55: WSOP main event final table
Win a free seat to the main event from the ESPN Poker Club.
ESPN announces its schedule for this year's World Series of Poker, including a major innovation in the scheduling of the main event final table.