- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The prizes will no doubt be plenty but so will the competition when the 46th annual World Series of Poker returns for 49 days next year.

The premier poker tournament with more than 60 separate events produced by Caesars Entertainment is returning May 27 to July 14 to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Organizers announced a new event will join the lineup in 2015. Dubbed “the Colossus,” the no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em event will have a $565 buy-in - the lowest, organizers said, for an open event in the tournament in 35 years - with a guaranteed total prize pool of at least $5 million. World Series of Poker spokesman Seth Palansky said to expect more than 13,000 entries.

Lance Bradley, editor in chief of poker industry publication Bluff Magazine, said the allure of a relatively inexpensive buy-in with a chance to win not just prize money but one of the gold bracelets, “it’s our Super Bowl ring, it’s our trophy,” would attract crowds of players for the tournament’s opening weekend.

“For the average guy, like myself, a $565 buy-in is awesome,” he said.

Bradley said he had noticed some initial backlash from poker pros who may not want to see the tourney’s prestige diminished by a low buy-in.

“There’s this careful balance,” Bradley said of the tournament, between appealing to the poker pros and appealing to the players who play with buddies in their basements every once in a while.

One of the lowest World Series of Poker buy-ins before Tuesday’s announcement was the event’s “stimulus special” in 2009 for $1,000, he said.

The closely watched Main Event that attracts several thousand players battling for a one in nine chance to win $10 million is scheduled for July 5 to July 14. The buy-in is $10,000 and the final nine players return in November to vie for the top prize.

This year’s winner, 27-year-old Sweden’s Martin Jacobsen, was one of three Europeans at the final table who spent hours of intense head-to-head gameplay over two days to eventually take home $10 million.

More than 82,000 people entered the 2014 World Series of Poker’s 65 events in 2014. The event got its start as a small single table in 1970 at Benny Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, where the players ultimately voted on the winner in the end.

This year, the tournament handed out more than $227 million in prizes, in addition to coveted gold bracelets awarded to the top winner in the tournament’s individual events.

Buy-ins at the 2015 event range from $75 to $111,111 and feature niche events for seniors, women and one that promises at least $1 million to the winner. The full schedule of events is expected to be released in January.

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