by Chad Holloway of Predictem.com
The 2010 World Series of Poker will feature the return of the Tournament of Champions. Many of you may recall watching the T.O.C. on ESPN back in 2004 when Annie Duke defeated a table of nine other pros to take home $1 million. You might have also seen Mike Matusow win it in 2005, or Mike Sexton's victory in 2006. Since then, the T.O.C. has disappeared from the WSOP schedule; that is, until this year.
Back in March of 2010, Harrah's announced that they would be reestablishing the T.O.C. in a new and improved format. First, only 27 of the top players would compete. Second, fans would be able to vote in 20 of the 27 players. The only criterion was that only past bracelet winners could receive votes, meaning players like Tom "Durrrr" Dwan and Phil Laak weren't eligible. The other seven spots were reserved for the three past T.O.C. winners (Duke, Matusow and Sexton), the reigning Main Event winner (Joe Cada), the reigning WSOP-Europe champ (Barry Shulman), and two sponsor exemptions. The winner of the T.O.C. will received $500,000. The runner-up will get $250,000, third $100,000, and fourth through ninth place earning a respectable $25,000 each.
Voting was open between March 15th through June 15th and a total of 355,081 votes were cast. Even with all those votes, the lead for the #1 spot was separated by only 28 votes. Phil Ivey earned the honor, barely beating out Daniel Negreanu who came in #2. The rest of the results, along with the full roster that'll be competing in the T.O.C., can be found below:
Rank - Name - Votes
1. Phil Ivey 16,267
2. Daniel Negreanu 16,239
3. Doyle Brunson 13,796
4. Phil Hellmuth 12.673
5. Chris Ferguson 11,585
6. Allen Cunningham 10,486
7. Johnny Chan 10,434
8. Scotty Nguyen 9,834
9. Barry Greenstein 9,806
10. John Juanda 8,835
11. Erik Seidel 8,802
12. Jennifer Harman 8,206
13. Huck Seed 8,180
14. Dan Harrington 7,342
15. T.J. Cloutier 6,281
16. Sammy Farha 6,085
17. Howard Lederer 5,596
18. Greg Raymer 5,404
19. Joe Hachem 5,272
20. Antonio Esfandiari 5,129
Automatic: Annie Duke 2004 TOC Winner
Automatic: Mike Matusow 2005 TOC Winner
Automatic: Mike Sexton 2006 TOC Winner
Automatic: Joe Cada 2009 Main Event Champion
Automatic: Barry Shulman 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event Champion
Exemption: Bertrand Grospellier WSOP Academy Playoff Winner
Exemption: Andrew Barton WSOP.com UK Qualifier
"We're very pleased with the response to this new format," said WSOP vice president Ty Stewart. "The selections show that poker has a mass fan base that is knowledgeable about the history of the World Series of Poker." The T.O.C. will be aired on ESPN with a two-hour special on Tuesday, August 3 at 8:00 PM ET.
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