In the current world of high stakes poker, you had better have a very solid bankroll or have been one of the ones to have captured a title at some point within the past year or so. If you take a look at the schedule, there are usually at least three high profile and large buy-in tournaments (anywhere from five to ten thousand dollars) that you have to choose from. Even this late in 2005, two more have been added onto the list of the big games in 2005.
First up, the World Poker Tour announced that they will be conducting the second annual Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship from October 18-21 as the Main Event at this year's Festa al Lago IV being held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The tournament was created in 2004 to honor the legendary Doyle Brunson and his contributions to the game of poker over the last five decades.
The $10,000 buy-in event, in its inaugural year, drew 312 players, including some of the biggest players in the game. The final table of the event was a dangerous one, including David "The Dragon" Pham, John Juanda and Erik Seidel. But it was 2001 World Champion Carlos Mortensen who was able to vanquish all and walk off with the million dollar prize. This year's event is expected to be even more intensely contested as, if the current trend holds steady, there should be close to 500 players who look to capture the crown from Mortensen.
The "other" big tournament announcement is not one that players can buy into, but one that they had to earn their way into. After much discussion between itself and ESPN, Harrah's has announced the dates of the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. November 6th is the start date for the $2 million freeroll event, with final table action on November 8th. The TOC will be held at another of the Harrah's properties, Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas
This year's Tournament of Champions will differ greatly from last year's winner take all invitational event, which was won by Annie Duke. Players earned points from the start of the WSOP Circuit events from the start of 2005 at Atlantic City. Each stop of the Circuit handed out points to its finishers, and points were awarded as well during the entirety of the World Series. Only the top 100 players who collected points will be back, attempting to divide up the two million this year among the nine players who make the final table ($1 million will go to the winner).
You can definitely count on 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem being there to attempt to add some more money to his bank. Also to be included are the entirety of the final table from the Main Event this year and many of the bracelet winners and ring holders from WSOP Circuit events, including Allen Cunningham, T. J. Cloutier, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Phil Ivey and Jennifer Harman (who did not win an event, but collected enough points through the entirety of the WSOP Circuit and the World Series to qualify for the TOC).
Just when you think the end of the year isn't going to bring any exciting poker, both the WPT and Harrah's and the WSOP come through! While we know we won't see the action from the Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championships until 2006, hopefully poker fans will get a nice Christmas present and ESPN will turn the Tournament of Championship around quickly. All in all, there is still some great poker action coming as we work towards the end of 2005!
Ed Note: Paradise Poker are gearing up for the Masters III tournament, which will have a prize pool of over $1,000,000