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Poker’s most well known tele-visual spectacle has announced its return. The World Poker Tour has unveiled their U.S. schedule for Season VIII. A host of favourite venues make a return to the schedule this year, with one brand new addition. There will be 12 stops in total, with each casino hosting a few smaller tournaments before the televised WPT main event.

The round trip starts and ends at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel and Casino. The Bellagio has been a key member of the WPT calendar since Season I, a tradition that looks set to continue. The Bellagio Cup IV kicks off on July 13th, two days before the WSOP main event is put on hold until November. The cup is a popular event with the pros, and is sure to draw in the scores of people who have bust from the World Series. The tour returns to the Bellagio on April 17th for the WPT World Championship. The showcase $25,000 event concludes on April 24th 2010.

There is one new addition this year. A trip to the Hollywood Casino in Lawerenceburg, Indiana may be in order for legions of WPT hopefuls. This is the first time a televised event will have been held in the Midwest, and the first time a WPT event has ever been held on a riverboat. The Hollywood Poker Open on Mach 20th is the final event before the tour concludes at the Bellagio.

In addition the WPT will visit the following 10 casinos: Bay 101 in San Jose, Calif.; Bicycle Casino’s new Event Center in Los Angeles; Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss.; Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City; Commerce Casino in Los Angeles; and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

Another first, this time for the viewer, is the announcement that Season 8 will be broadcast in HD on Fox Sports Net. Avid WPT fans will now be able to get a high detail view of Barry Greenstein’s beard and Chris Ferguson’s motionless face.

Making good on the ‘World’ portion of its title the WPT is set to visit some international locations. Although the majority of these are being kept under wraps at the moment, an event in Solvakia has been confirmed for August 26th – September 2nd 2009. Additionally the WPT Spanish Championship in Barcelona gets underway today, with the €5,000 main event concluding on Tuesday.

The full U.S. schedule is as follows:

Bellagio Cup V
Bellagio
Las Vegas, Nevada
July 13-19, 2009
$15,000+$400

Legends of Poker
The Bicycle Casino
Los Angeles, California
Aug. 22-26, 2009
$9,800+$200

Borgata Poker Open
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Sept. 19-24, 2009
TBD

Festa al Lago
Bellagio
Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct. 20-26, 2009
$15,000+$400

Foxwoods World Poker Finals
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Mashantucket, Connecticut
Nov. 5-10, 2009
$9,700+$300

Doyle Brunson Five-Diamond World Poker Classic
Bellagio
Las Vegas, Nevada
Dec. 13-19, 2009
$15,000+$400

Southern Poker Championship
Beau Rivage
Biloxi, Mississippi
Jan. 24-27, 2010
$9,700+$300

L.A. Poker Classic
Commerce Casino
Los Angeles, California
Feb. 20-25, 2010
$9,600+$400

WPT Invitational
Commerce Casino
Los Angeles, California
Feb. 27-March 1, 2010
Invitation Only

Bay 101 Shooting Star
Bay 101
San Jose, California
March 8-12, 2010
$9,600+$400

Hollywood Poker Open
Hollywood Casino
Lawrenceburg, Indiana
March 20-24, 2010
$9,600+$400

WPT World Championship
Bellagio
Las Vegas, Nevada
April 17-24, 2010
$25,000+$500