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ESPN announces WSOP TV schedule

ESPN released its schedule of televised events for this year's World Series of Poker. For the first time in the three years of providing 32 hours of WSOP coverage, if the schedule holds, ESPN will be televising just bracelet and final table action.

ESPN will televise the main event and 10 preliminary events, including the HORSE event, which remains the highest buy-in ($50,000) at the WSOP. Below is the tentative schedule:

• Event 1: $5,000 mixed hold 'em
• Event 3: $1,500 no-limit hold 'em
• Event 4: $1,500 pot-limit hold 'em or Event 7: $5,000 pot-limit Omaha
• Event 8: $1,000 no-limit hold 'em with rebuys
• Event 13: $5,000 pot-limit hold 'em
• Event 28: $3,000 no-limit hold 'em
• Event 30: $2,500 no-limit hold 'em six-handed
• Event 31: $5,000 heads-up or Event 33: $1,500 pot-limit Omaha with rebuys
• Event 39: $50,000 HORSE
• Event 50: $10,000 pot-limit Omaha
• Event 55: $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event

One of the biggest changes is the coverage of the HORSE event (branded the "World Series of Poker Players Championship"), which will consist of six one-hour shows, instead of the one-hour final table which was shown last year. Additionally, the format for the final table will continue to include all five games in HORSE (hold 'em, Omaha, razz, stud and eight or better) instead of changing to strictly no-limit hold 'em play.

Making its debut will be the $5,000 heads-up event. With the success of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship held each March at Caesars in Las Vegas, it'll be interesting to see what the turnout will be for this event.

Also in question will be the turnout for the main event, which will receive 16 hours of coverage, an increase of four hours from last year. After record-breaking numbers last year, how will the biggest event be affected by the recent legislation which has reduced the number of online sites in the U.S. Online sites have given away a substantial percentage of seats to the main event in recent years, and the number of online qualifiers this year is expected to drop as a result of the new law passed in October 2006.

The air dates of these events will be released in the coming months.

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