Since the early days of the World Series of Poker, there has rarely been a clearly defined leadership of the event, at least not without a struggle. In the early years it was easy enough; it was the brainchild of Binion's Horseshoe owner Benny Binion and his influence on the event let everyone know who was in charge. After Benny's death, it fell upon the Binion children to take over, with Becky in the end seizing control until the closure of the Horseshoe. Once Harrah's bought the World Series and the Horseshoe, it marked the end of the Binion family running the show. Since then, there hasn't been a designated leader of the World Series.
That changed January 12th when Harrah's announced that Jeffrey Pollack, its vice president of sports and entertainment marketing, would become the first ever Commissioner of the World Series of Poker. Pollack has been figuratively in charge of the event since the end of last year's World Series but, with the designation now of being the man in charge, Pollack can attempt to place his mark on the World Series and take the sport of poker even further. The designation will take effect once all appropriate regulatory approvals have been earned.
"The World Series of Poker is a unique event in the gaming and sports industries and, as such, requires special oversight and management," said Ginny Shanks, Harrah's senior vice president of brand management. "Designating Jeffrey as commissioner will further empower him to develop a strong sense of community among our players, tournament organizers, event staff, media partners, sponsors, licensees, and corporate management team."
The new Commissioner will now be at the forefront of the greatest poker tournament on Earth and should now be able to freely make the adjustments to the World Series and the Circuit events as he sees necessary. Pollack has already shown that he is respectful and listening to the concerns of the players from his actions earlier this week in the creation of the Players' Committee, a group that will allow the players to let him know what the players want, and the reintroduction of the H.O.R.S.E. event to competition during the World Series.
On that front, there is a firm date now set for the return of a mixed game event to the World Series. The H.O.R.SE. competition, with its $50,000 buy-in, will be a three day event that will start on July 25th, which is three days before the Championship Event's first of four starting days will begin on July 28th. As chip stacks are normally around the same as the buy-in, three days should be enough for the participants to make for some excellent poker to be seen by those in attendance. Also, with the tournament being a mixed game format and the highest buy-in ever, it should bring some of the finest (and most successful) poker players around today to the tables.
"We've heard from a number of players that a high buy-in event will enhance the World Series of Poker," stated Commissioner Pollack. "We agree, and this schedule addition is an example of how we are innovating to build on the tradition and heritage of the tournament. This summer, one player will make poker history and win the first-ever World Series of Poker bracelet for a $50,000 event."
Harrah's is continuing to be at the forefront of poker and is aiming to make the World Series of Poker and the WSOP Circuit events the best it can be for those who are competing. With Commissioner Pollack firmly taking the reins of the World Series now, what else can we expect to see before the Big Show starts in June?