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Online earns may lead to table winnings at WSOP

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 5/29 1:31 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The World Series of Poker kicked off at the Rio this week and is celebrating 45 years in Las Vegas. This year's series is during a time when casino revenues are relatively flat. In April, they were down a fraction of a percent from the month before.

The tournament this year has an added a special online championship that works hand-in-hand with the live tournament.

Megaresorts on the Las Vegas Strip saw a 3.2 percent gain in gambling revenues, but at downtown Las Vegas casinos, revenues fell 2.5 percent.

Online poker has been regulated for about a year, and this is the first time the World Series of Poker brand is bringing one of the largest poker tournaments to players' laptops.

Step in to a tournament room at the world series of poker and the constant hum of poker chips fills the room.

Thousands of players are vying for millions in prize money.

Seth Palansky with the WSOP says for them, this year is different.

Their players can start their tournaments online and skip the crowded rooms and the thousands it costs to buy in.

"Every night on wsop.com we're giving away seats in to the next day's WSOP event, and we're also giving away seats to the main event, which is our culminating event which begins July 5 here at the Rio," Palansky said.

For as little as $1, a player can qualify to compete in WSOP land-based events and turn that $1 into a $10 million win.

Throughout the tournament, floor people are helping players sign in to the online portion of the event.

They've even included an online lounge for players to link up.

Palansky tells us in just one day they saw hundreds of thousands of dollars deposited in online accounts.

Wayne Lewis is from New Jersey and already plays on the WSOP site there. He says while he's here, he'll check out what Nevada has to offer online.

"It's a much more technical game," Lewis said.

Lewis said these two games look similar, but there are plenty of differences.

Although the online championships are only offered in Nevada and New Jersey, Palansky believes online play will become commonplace in the near future either through federal regulation or agreements between the states.

"Digital is here to stay, the Internet is here to stay. We have to figure out how to attract the next generation of customers who are growing up on smart phones and tablets," Palansky said.

If they're successful on the website, online players will get to take a seat and play live with the chance to earn millions in just a few days.

Gaming revenue for the three poker sites for the month of April was $792,000.

Revenues are still relatively low.

The WSOP is hoping the extra player pool they're seeing this month will help boost those numbers for next month.

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