The day came. Today, when in Las Vegas it is a midday, and in Spain already it is falling down the evening, one will proceed to typically ” Shuffle Up and Deal ” that will mean the beginning of the Edition XLVII of the World Series of Poker.Since always, the festival will begin with the typical event focused on the employees of the casino, and from there, other 68 more events will be celebrated for all the tastes, colors and pockets. Evidently, the culminating point will come at the beginning of July, when it will begin the Main Event, winner about which we will not know until November.

Since already we have told you in previous occasions, this edition of the WSOP comes loaded from innovations, between them the new supplier of playing cards, which will be Copag to the detriment of the Italian signature Modiano, which so many critiques was removing last year for the doubtful quality of his letters.

The rest of innovations that you have to bear in mind if you think to line up your way to Las Vegas and to take part in the WSOP, are the following ones.
Full Plazas

The majority of events with right to bracelet, they will pay 15 % of the field instead of 10 % that was habitual till now. The minimal ITM will be 1,5 times the buy-in of the event.

Heading into the 2012 World Series of Poker there are perhaps more unsigned big name poker pros than ever before.

The events of Black Friday and the subsequent collapse of Full Tilt Poker made sure there would be an army of pros without online poker site sponsors hitting the Rio this summer.

Not every player is a great acquisition. Phil Ivey represents a challenge because of his alleged ties to Full Tilt Poker management while U.S. players such as Tom Dwan are a tough sell because the country is currently closed to the online poker market.

Here’s a subjective look at five great potential free agents going into the 2012 WSOP:

5) Gus Hansen

Danish pro Gus Hansen is one of the few former Team Full Tilt members who made it out of Black Friday relatively unscathed.

Hansen was not an original member of Full Tilt and made a clean break from the site after Black Friday.

So what would the “Great Dane” bring to an online poker site?

Hansen is one of the most well-known players in the world and is a fan-favorite thanks to his loose style and outgoing personality.

In addition he’s not American, which is a huge benefit thanks to the current legal climate of online poker in the U.S.

He would also stimulate the high-stakes cash games of wherever he signed as he was known to win or lose millions on a regular basis on Full Tilt Poker.

Where he would fit best: Titan Poker (despite just ending contracts with Sam Trickett and Marvin Rettenmaier) has raised its profile over the last few years and adding a huge name like Gus Hansen would be a coup. It would also be huge for its cash games.

4) Doyle Brunson

The Grandfather of Poker has been without a sponsor since cutting ties with Doyles Room after Black Friday.

Despite getting a little long in the tooth, there are very few poker players who have had as much of an impact on the game as Doyle Brunson. He owns 10 WSOP bracelets and basically wrote the book on modern poker when he released Super/System.

Any online poker room would instantly benefit from having one of the most recognizable names in the game on board.

The biggest question is if Brunson is even interested in getting involved with an online poker site after what happened with Doyles Room.

The other problem is that Brunson lives in the U.S. so he’s unable to play online and he doesn’t do that much traveling anymore.

Where he would fit best: PokerStars has an immense team of celebrated poker players from around the globe. Doyle Brunson would be the icing on the cake for a site set on world domination.

3) Sam Trickett

The U.K. poker scene is exceptionally strong these days and Sam Trickett is the best of the best.

Trickett has waged an all-out war on the live tournament circuit and has amassed over $5 million in earnings over the last couple years alone.

The Nottingham-native is hardly a one-trick pony and has been raking in some million-dollar pots in the high-stakes games from Vegas to Macau.

As a U.K. player, Trickett is available to sign on with any online poker room and would give a serious boost to any site trying to increase its presence in England.

Trickett left sponsor Titan Poker earlier this year.

Where he would fit best: 888poker has been making huge strides lately with improved software and more players. The only thing missing is some big-name pros and Sam Trickett would certainly fit that bill.

2) Phil Hellmuth

Love him or hate him, there’s no doubt Phil Hellmuth is one of biggest stars in the poker world.

Hellmuth’s poker credentials are unparalleled: 11 WSOP bracelets, over $13 million in live tournament earnings and 85 cashes at the WSOP.

One of the most recognizable faces in the game, Hellmuth built a reputation based on his “Poker Brat” persona in the 2000s and instantly became a fan favorite.

Hellmuth split from beleaguered UB.com in early 2011 and, likely due to Black Friday, has remained unsigned since.

Hellmuth has been criticized in recent years for not keeping up with the game but last year finished second in three bracelet events and second in the WSOP POY rankings. He was also somewhat tarnished by being part of UB Poker during the super user scandal.

Most poker sites would benefit from having Phil Hellmuth on its roster but he would likely be expensive.

Where he would fit best: Party Poker has a small team of big-name pros and Hellmuth would certainly be the biggest name on his roster he signed. Party already has loudmouth Tony G so probably wouldn’t mind signing the Poker Brat.

1) Patrik Antonius

Finnish poker pro Patrik Antonius doesn’t even have to play a single event at the WSOP and he would still be the most coveted free agent at the WSOP.

Antonius is a bona fide god in the online community and is also one of the remaining stars from the poker boom in the early 2000s.

His reputation survived the Full Tilt collapse better than most (although financially he could potentially lose millions from it) as he didn’t sign with the site until 2008, supposedly lost money when the site went down and had little to do with management.

Antonius could single-handedly kickstart the high-stakes games on a site as there are numerous pros who would love a shot at one of the best online players in the history of poker.

Where he would fit best: Patrik Antonius would look pretty sweet wearing a PokerStars logo. PokerStars has yet to sign any former Team Full Tilt members but Antonius must be particularly enticing considering what he would bring to the high-stakes games.

Despite a struggling global economy and hundreds of millions of dollars of poker money still tied up on Full Tilt Poker, the WSOP is expecting big numbers across the board this summer in Las Vegas.

“The Main Event will get between 6,000 and 8,000 players,” WSOP Communications Director Seth Palansky told PokerListings.com on Day 3 today.

Last year 6,865 people turned out for the $10,000 World Championship event, a number that exceeded expectations.

Now, one year later, there are a number of factors that will influence attendance not only for the Main Event but for the WSOP as a whole.

A German Champion and Global Growth

In 2011 Pius Heinz became the first German world champion in WSOP history, further fueling the game’s growth in European markets.

“Poker is growing worldwide and the WSOP is the Olympics of poker,” Palansky said.

Since winning the Main Event, Heinz has been the face of German poker and been featured on numerous TV programs in the country.

Germany is now one of the most important markets for online poker and Heinz, along with players such as Benny Spindler, Tobias Reinkemeier, Giuseppe Pantaleo and recent EPT Grand Final winner Marvin Rettenmaier are leading the charge.

European Financial Issues Could be Huge Challenge for 2012 WSOP

It’s not all rosy for the 2012 WSOP, however, and the European financial meltdown represents a big hurdle for the venerable poker series.

With the Euro dropping by more than 15% there could be significantly less European players at the 2012 WSOP.

In years past countries like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal have represented big area of growth for the international poker contest.

With Italy and Greece economies still reeling from the resent financial downturn it remains to be seen how much of a presence European countries will have at this year’s WSOP.

The 2012 WSOP continues through July 16, 2012. For in-depth coverage live from Las Vegas check PokerListings’ Live Updates brought to you by 888poker.