ALL GEARED UP FOR WSOP 2008 Poker's annual spectacular starts this Friday It hardly seems possible, but another year has passed and on Friday the 39th World Series of Poker launches in Las Vegas, attracting thousands of players from all over the planet who have the buy-in cash for one or more of the many events, or who have qualified for seat sponsorships in the numerous online promotions surrounding this major poker event. Registration at the Rio has already begun, and will hopefully run faster and smoother than has been the case in the past. There's a radical change in the 2008 program (see previous InfoPowa report) in that ESPN's television broadcast demands have resulted in the final table action of the Main Event being delayed by 117 days for subsequent filming at the Rio on November 9. And judging by recent reports, even that will be split into two, with the final heads-up taking place on November 19. For those planning an appearance at one of the many events, the organisers at Harrah's Entertainment have publicised the current rules at the World Series of Poker.com website. Total entrants for WSOP events in 2007 reached a record 54 288 players competing for prize pools totalling almost $160 million, and it will be interesting to see if factors like the economic downturn impact these numbers in 2008. Last year the largest preliminary event prize pool was $7.1 million for the $50 000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E., generating a top prize of $2.2 million. In the 2007 Main Event a total prize-pool of $59 784 954 was available, providing winner Jerry Yang with a first placing paycheck of $8 250 000.