Shuffle Up and Deal: WSOP Hopes for Record Attendance
Poker’s annual culmination of hope and heartbreak began today at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas as the Main Event of the World Series of Poker kicked off. Currently ranking third all time in overall attendance, event organizers hope the Main Event will put this year’s series in the record books as the largest ever.
So far there have been 68,168 entrants, and over $160m in prize money has been awarded. The total prize money has received a huge boost from Guy Laliberté’s One Drop event which added over $42m. Antonio Esfandiari won the largest prize in poker history by beating a field of 48 professionals and businessmen who had each paid a million dollars to enter.
$5.3m went to Guy’s One Drop charity and third placed hedge fund manager David Einhorn also donated his entire $4.3m in winnings to charity.
Second placed Sam Trickett looked suitably devastated when his diamond flush draw failed to materialise all in against Antonio’s trip fives. While Esfandiari supporters celebrated their man’s $18.3 million in winnings, Sam stood dejectedly against the rail. $10.1m was obviously an inadequate compensation for finishing in second place.
Additional space at the Rio has provided 480 tables so there will only be three Day 1s this year. There will be two Day 2s, and then the fields will combine on Thursday.
The money bubble should burst sometime on Friday evening and the final nine will be known next Monday night, July 16. They will reconvene in October to play down to the finish.
The Main Event will also help decide the WSOP Player of the Year (PoY) award. The top five leaders on the PoY scoreboard are:
- Phil Ivey 568.70
- John Monnette 524.25
- Phil Hellmuth 500.70
- Antonio Esfandiari 488.10
- Michael Mizrachi 486.20
Main Event points could well make all the difference as there are 500 points for 1st place and 75 for finishing in the top 20%. This could still be Phil Hellmuth’s year! PokerStars Team Pro Vanessa Selbst is in 9th with 388 points, so a final table place could well see her become first female PoY.
Phil Ivey has entered an impressive 44 events and made five final tables to earn his place at the top of the leaderboard. Only four players have entered more with the top spot going to online high stakes sit and go specialist George Lind who is again demonstrating his prodigious work rate having entered 47 events.