World Series of Poker announces All-Star Game

The World Series of Poker has come up with its own version of an All-Star Game.

Voting began today at where poker fans can nominate 20 of the 27 participants to take part in the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions.

The two-day free-roll event takes place during the upcoming 41st World Series of Poker at the Rio and will be part of a special ESPN two-hour telecast on Aug. 3.

To qualify as one of the 20 eligible fan-voted participants, players must be a World Series of Poker individual event champion bracelet holder. All living bracelet holders are able to receive votes and currently there are 521 eligible players. Voting ends at midnight June 15.

This year’s event will be a no-limit Hold’em tournament with the top nine places paid. First place wins $500,000, the runner-up gets $250,000, third place earns $100,000 and the fourth through ninth place winners pocket $25,000 each.

Play will begin on June 27 and will be halted once the final nine players are reached. Those nine will return to the Rio on July 4th to play for the title.

Five seats have already been filled with Annie Duke, Mike Matusow and Mike Sexton (the three previous World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions winners), Joe Cada (the reigning World Series of Poker champion) and Barry Shulman (the reigning World Series of Poker Europe champion). Sponsors will be allowed to fill two of the seats.

Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment Vice President Ty Stewart said the event has developed a following.

“We're thrilled to reinvent it around a model that should elevate the game by engaging millions of poker fans,” Stewart said.