The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event is already the second-biggest tournament in history and the registrations just keep coming.
The iconic $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament benefited from above-average attendance on the first two starting flights (Day 1A and Day 1B) but Day 1C has been a downright monster with nearly 5,000 entries bringing the overall field up to 8,100 players. It was the single biggest starting day in the history of the WSOP and just the second time the Main Event has eclipsed 8,000 runners in total.
Despite somewhat restrictive laws in the U.S. regarding online poker, attendance in the Main Event has been on the rise over the last few years. Last year, John Cynn outlasted a field of 7,874 players (which broke the record as the second-biggest Main Event ever) to win a first-place prize of $8.8 million.
The 2019 WSOP Main Event has already broken that record and has a legitimate shot at becoming the biggest one of all time.
First Place to Potentially Pay Out Over $9m
The overall prize pool of the 2019 WSOP Main Event won’t be released until Sunday evening but it’s guaranteed to be one of the richest events ever hosted.
Registration for the tournament will remain open until the start of both Day 2s (one plays out on Saturday and one on Sunday), which means players will get every chance to sneak into the tournament and get a shot at the record-breaking prize pool.
Because of the enormous field, it will take WSOP organizers some time to calculate payouts for the tournaments but it’s safe to say there are going to be some very rich poker players by the time the event has concluded.
Last year’s event offered a prize pool of $74 million but the 2019 edition has already passed that tournament in terms of participation so the prize pool will be even bigger.
Currently there’s only one Main Event that attracted more players: the mammoth 2006 edition, which drew 8,773.
The 2006 Main Event had a major advantage over the Main Events held over the last decade, however. Back in 2006 the poker boom was in full swing and the online poker market was still open. Online poker sites sent a record number of qualifiers to the Main Event.
For many years it was assumed that the Main Event would never get close to that high-water mark that was set in 2006 but the last few years have changed people’s perception of that number and this year’s Main Event has a shot at taking the crown as the biggest poker tournament ever.
Here’s a look at Main Event participation over the last decade:
Two Players Disqualified in Two Hours
The 2019 WSOP Main Event is already one of the biggest tournaments in history but it’s quickly becoming one of the most interesting as well.
It’s rare that a player gets disqualified in a major tournament but the 2019 Main Event saw two disqualifications in a span of two hours on Day 1C.
The first player was disqualified when he stole an opponent’s entire stack, despite the fact the other player wasn’t even involved in the hand. The disqualified player simply reached over and grabbed the stack while grinning.
The second disqualification was even more bizarre. An unidentified player shoved all-in blind, accidentally flipped over his cards and began yelling. He then proceeded to briefly drop his shorts, took off his shoes and flipped one of them onto the table, nearly hitting the dealer.
Both players were immediately disqualified and forfeited their $10,000 buy-in. In both cases the player’s chips were removed from play. The player who stole chips will be banned from all future WSOP events because Sportsbook has a zero tolerance policy on any form of theft.
The disqualifications weren’t the only unusual event that occurred on Day 1C of the Main Event. Midway through the day, Las Vegas experienced a significant 7.1 magnitude earthquake for several seconds. The quake caused enough of a panic that organizers sent players on an early dinner break.
Play resumed as normal after the dinner break, however, and poker pro Mike “Timex” McDonald (306,300 chips), former Survivor castaway Garrett Adelstein (216,000 chips) and businessman Leon Tsoukernik (167,000) finished near the top of the chip count.
Days 2A and 2B kick off at noon today with Day 2C scheduled to begin on Sunday. Registration will be open until the start of the day so organizers won’t have a final player account until midway through Day 2C.