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Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic

The World Poker Tour will return to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from the 15th to the 19th of December for the fifth annual Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic. This $15,000 buy-in event is among the most prestigious on the tour, standing second to only the $25,000 Bellagio WPT Championship in April, and has seen some legendary victories.

Gus Hansen began his famous run there with a win in 2002 for $556,460 from 146 players, and Paul Phillips followed the next year taking home $1,101,908 with a field over double the size. In 2004 the buy-in moved to its current $15,000 and a field of 376 saw Daniel Negreanu emerge victorious for $1,770,218 while last year European Rehne Pedersen took $2,078,185 home to Denmark after outlasting a field of 555 players.

This time around the field is expected to make another leap, and part of the appeal to the world’s poker players is the unparalleled hospitality of Vegas’ premier hotel. Situated in the heart of the Strip, features like its fountains, botanical gardens and the gallery of fine art as well as plush accommodation and the ultimate in guest service make it a second home to many of the players who travel the circuit.

Not only that, but the dining options are unparalleled, with Le Cirque recreated fresh from New York by legendary chef Sirio Maccioni, and the well known Picasso restaurant offering exquisite French and Mediterranean cuisine. If neither of those experiences suit, there’s also the oriental experience of Shintaro or even the Prime Steak House for that All-American experience.

Entertainments are no less in supply, with Franco Dragone’s “O”— Cirque du Soleil’s powerhouse performance merging the splendor of the theatre, street performance and lavish opera. Also, Vegas’ hottest new nightclub, Light, has recently opened, which complements the more traditional hospitality of the Fontana Bar and the Caramel Bar and Lounge. Shopping is also a treat, with all the top brands represented.

But what Bellagio is really about is the gaming and besides having the most prestigious poker room in Vegas, the casino offers an incredible selection of table games where poker’s elite can be found blowing off steam at the craps table when they’re not playing golf or gambling for ultra-high stakes in Bobby’s Room, the private part of the poker room where the biggest game in the world is held regularly.

Known as the Big Game, this $4,000-$8,000 limit game comprises as many as 10 different forms of poker including hold’em, Omaha hi-lo, triple draw, stud and stud eight or better, as well as big-bet games like no limit hold’em and pot limit Omaha, played with a cap of $100,000 per hand. Regulars, such as Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Phil Ivey and Jennifer Harman regularly win or lose big there, and no doubt would welcome a visit from whomever walks away with top prize at this year’s event.
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