Poker News

At 9:00am PT on Saturday morning, the spectator seating line will open at the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio in Las Vegas. Inside, the remaining nine players in the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, collectively dubbed the November Nine, will vie for an $8.9 million top prize beginning at Noon PT.

Harrah’s officials released the schedule of events for the November Nine weekend in recent days. At 10:30am PT on Saturday, the survivors, who have been on a four-month respite, must meet with tournament organizers. A half-hour later, friends and family seating begins, with WSOP staff noting that loved ones must be in their seats no later than 12:30pm PT. Then, any unoccupied chairs will be made available for the general public. At 11:30am PT, 30 minutes before play is set to begin, open seating will be held.

Outlets like Poker News Daily have from 9:00am PT to 11:30am PT to pick up their credentials and find their way to media row. Last year, the media were treated like high rollers and seated in the theater’s VIP booths, complete with work surfaces and wireless internet. Harrah’s officials expect more media in 2010 than last year.

At Noon PT, it’s game on! The nine remaining players will take to the stage to intro music they pre-selected. If memory serves me correctly, the national anthem of the United States aired prior to play in 2009 and Tournament Director Jack Effel briefly spoke to the crowd about personal conduct. We’d expect reigning champion and PokerStars pro Joe Cada to issue the “Shuffle up and deal” command, although who will give the call to arms on Saturday has not yet been revealed.

There is an hour and 15 minutes remaining in the current level, where blinds are 250,000-500,000 with an ante of 50,000. Needless to say, we’d expect the pace of play to be fast and furious, although industry insiders like ESPN’s Bernard Lee don’t believe that any of the November Nine will be shown the door in the first hour. As it stands now, 20-minute breaks will take place at 1:26pm PT and 3:46pm PT before a 90-minute dinner break at 6:06pm PT.

Play will last on Saturday until just two remain. Last year, it took until the twilight hours in the Nevada desert for that to occur, although this year, given a six-hour November Nine bubble, we’d expect play to wrap up considerably earlier. By 2:30am PT on Sunday morning, the blinds will be 1,000,000-2,000,000 with an ante of 300,000, undoubtedly pushing the action along.

On Sunday at the Rio’s Masquerade Stage, the final two combatants will appear in front of the media. On Monday, heads-up play will resume at 8:00pm PT, with a line for seating opening two hours prior. Last year, the queue stretched down the convention center hallway nearly to the Pavilion Room. Friends and family seating will begin at 6:30pm PT, with general admission opening 30 minutes later. Admission into the Penn and Teller Theater is completely free.

Also taking place around 7:30pm PT on Monday is the induction ceremony for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2010, which features Dan Harrington and Full Tilt Poker’s Erik Seidel.

Player introductions will occur on Monday at 8:00pm PT and the cards will hit the air shortly thereafter. A media guide distributed earlier this week explains what will happen in the final moments of the Main Event: “Media may not rush the stage, but will be permitted to move to front of orchestra section to view and capture reaction. Note: Confetti, etc., will be utilized as part of show.”

Poker News Daily will be on-hand at the Rio providing the latest updates on the action. We’ll see you on Saturday at High Noon PT!

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