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Random WSOP10 Photos Part 1
CEO "Rocket Boy" 14 June 2010

Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi poses with the spoils of victory. Runner-up Vladimir Schmelev looks on.

We hung around the Rio for one more day after Grinder took down the $50K Players Championship and took some more pix in the Rio. We'll be going back for the Main Event as the November Nine are decided, but hopefully these pix will help fill the gap a bit.

Grinder's share of the $50K Players Championship prize pool

Grinder received the David 'Chip' Reese Memorial Trophy and his gold WSOP bracelet on the large stage in the massive Pavilion room. A much better venue than last year's small podium in the Amazon room.

The adorable
Kristy Arnett interviews Grinder after he received the David 'Chip' Reese Memorial Trophy and WSOP bracelet.

Aidiliy Elviro, aka "Mrs. Grinder" watches as her husband receives his awards.

All 57 WSOP bracelets to be awarded in 2010 were arranged on the wall behind the stage. A constant, tantalizing reminder to all players in the Pavilion room.

Wall-o-Bracelets behind the award stage. One by one they will be given to the winners.

The Pavilion room is unbelievably big. It's more than 1.5 times the size of the Amazon room, which may help to avoid another Main Event "Day 1D Debacle" like last year.

Quick - can you spot Shannon Shorr? Bonus points - can you spot Victor Ramdin?

The Amazon room is also being used. This year it's for smaller-field events such as the $50K and for the final few tables of some of the large-field events.

Andy Bloch discusses why he uses an iPad with Billy Baxter and other players at his table.

Eli Elezra rocking out

John Juanda playing an event (and getting a massage) the day after his $50K 8-game final table appearance.

Erick Lindgren is surprised by the board

Adeus Rio

It's looking very likely that Harrah's will move the WSOP to another venue in 2011. There are strong rumors that Harrah's is shopping the Rio around and trying to start a bidding war. Of the ten Vegas properties Harrah's owns, the Rio is the only one without a Las Vegas Boulevard address. It's isolated from Harrah's other casinos, and most visitors want to stay on-Strip in the middle of all the action.

Harrah's isn't running the WSOP as a labor of love. It's a business like any other (and some would say that Harrah's is more cost-conscious than other large casino-owning corporations.) Hosting the WSOP at the Rio was undoubtedly a move to help boost the Rio's off-season summertime occupancy and to give it more visibility through ESPN WSOP coverage. Evidently all of this just wasn't enough to keep Harrah's happy with the Rio.

Hail Caesars?

So where will the 2011 WSOP be held? Well, if Harrah's wants to hype its crown jewel, the WSOP and all of its media attention will move to Caesars Palace. It's a sprawling mash-up of enormous buildings, so there must be a ballroom big enough to host thousands of poker players at once. And it's dead-center Strip, which would make it easier for casual fans to rail the events and spend money in Caesars' casino and restaurants.

Or maybe Harrah's could use the WSOP X-factor to generate attention for one of its other less-famous properties. They did that with the Rio, and some say Planet Hollywood is next. Harrah's acquired that financially troubled casino-hotel in February 2010 and no doubt wants to help it turn the corner to profitability. The WSOP could give Planet Hollywood some TV exposure and of course boost its summer occupancy.

In the meantime, we'll be back on the rail one last time at the Rio as the WSOP Main Event plays down to the 2010 November Nine.

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