WSOP Academy Hosts First Annual Tournament Of Champions

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Winner of 11-person tournament on July 1 to win $10,000 seat to the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event

LAS VEGAS - The World Series of Poker Academy, poker's premier series of instructional camps where participants learn first-hand from the world's greatest players, will host the first annual WSOP Academy Tournament of Champions on July 1, 2009, 8:00pm PST, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The 11-person event consists of winners from the private tournaments and cash game challenges held at WSOP Academy events over the past year. The winner of the Tournament of Champions will be awarded a $10,000 seat to the 2009 WSOP Main Event, held at the Rio All Suites Casino beginning July 3.

"We're excited to host our first ever Tournament of Champions and have the winner represent the WSOP Academy in the richest and biggest tournament in poker, the 2009 WSOP Main Event," said Brandon Rosen of Post Oak Productions, the company that produces the WSOP Academy. "The 11 players competing in our Tournament of Champions represent the best of the best from our WSOP Academy events, and we expect the competition to be as fierce as competing for a WSOP bracelet."

Nine of the 11 spots at the final table have already been decided, and two more spots will be awarded during a private tournament held during the WSOP Academy's Main Event Primer, held June 29 - July 1.

The WSOP Academy graduates who have already earned a spot at the Tournament of Champions include:

- Peter Mylenki, Apsecon, NJ (Cash Game Academy in Atlantic City)

- Tony Wind, Maplewood, MN (Cash Game Academy at Caesars Palace Las Vegas)

- Karridy Askenasy, Dallas, TX (Tournament Academy at Winstar Oklahoma)

- Laura Bryant, Upland, CA (Tournament Academy at Caesars Palace)

- Ervin "Chip" Thornhill, Boguechitto, MS (Advanced Tournament Academy at Caesars Palace, tournament no. 1)

- Jim Price,  Oklahoma City, OK (Advanced Tournament Academy at Caesars Palace tournament no. 2)

- Harold Baumler, Birch Run, MI (Cash Game Academy at Caesars Palace Las Vegas)

- Gayle Swartzbaugh, Orlando, FL (Ladies Only Tournament Academy at Caesars Palace)

- Erik Benson, Portland, OR (Tournament Academy at Caesars Palace)

Unrivaled in both its level of instruction and results, the WSOP Academy has seen a number of its graduates score big at the World Series of Poker. At last year's Main Event, graduates Aaron Keay and Allen Kennedy each walked away $135,100 richer by finishing 49th and 50th, respectively. In 2007, the WSOP Academy saw one of its graduates, Sally Anne Boyer, quickly capture the title of Ladies World Champion by outlasting 1,286 players and taking home $262,077. The following year another WSOP Academy graduate, Patty Till, went straight from the WSOP Academy to the final table of the Ladies World Championship, where she finished third and earned $73,637.

The WSOP Academy is a groundbreaking series of instructional programs featuring instruction from the best players in the game, including Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, Mark Seif and Annie Duke. From sessions that focus on No-Limit Texas Holdem to special editions like the WSOP Academy's Ladies Only Event and Cash Game Academy, the WSOP Academy offers amateur poker players of all skill levels the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn directly from the champions of the game and become champions themselves.

For more information about the WSOP Academy and the first annual WSOP Academy Tournament of Champions, please visit