World Poker Tour Flexes with Record-Setting 1,001-Entry Five Diamond Event

The long-running World Poker Tour is in the midst of its 17th season and still setting records.

This year’s WPT Five Diamond tournament at Bellagio attracted 1,001 entries before registration was finally closed on Day 2 late yesterday.

It’s the single biggest $10,000 buy-in event in the history of the WPT and the tournament will pay out $9.7 million spread across 126 players. The eventual Sportsbook will walk away with a staggering $1.6 million but even second place will finish with over $1 million.

The poker world has been trending up lately with the WSOP receiving some of its biggest numbers ever for the Main Event this summer and partypoker recently hosting a record-setting $20-million guaranteed online event.

While the numbers don’t quite approach the boom days of the mid-2000s, it’s starting to become clear that poker is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence as players flood back to the tables.

Online Vet Calvin Anderson Takes Day 2 Chip Lead

The WPT Five Diamond tournament is considered one of the most prestigious events on the WPT schedule and it usually draws some of the best poker players in the world. This year’s tournament was no exception and the heavy hitters were out in spades including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, JC Tran and Maria Ho.

All the aforementioned players were eliminated, however, and it was online legend Calvin Anderson who rose to the top of the chip count with a 789,000 stack by the completion of Day 2.

Joe McKeehen, the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion, finished close behind Anderson with 784,000 chips. McKeehen has been one of the most successful former world champions with a total of $7.9 million earned outside of the $7.6 million he earned for winning the 2015 Main Event.

A total of 178 players survived to the end of the day and still have a shot at taking down the Five Diamond crown.

Here’s a look at the top 10 chip counts to finish Day 2 of the 2018 WPT Five Diamond:

  • Calvin Anderson — 789,000 chips
  • Joe McKeehen — 784,000 chips
  • Mike Cordell — 666,000 chips
  • Dan Shak — 628,000 chips
  • Farid Jattin — 570,000 chips
  • Darren Elias — 569,000 chips
  • Alan Schein — 554,000 chips
  • Brian Altman — 520,000 chips
  • Mo Arani — 520,000 chips
  • Robert Salaburu — 472,000 chips

Five Diamond Continues to Trend Up

It’s tough to say exactly what makes the Five Diamond such a huge draw among pros but it certainly helps that it takes place in Las Vegas. Many professional poker players live at least part time in Vegas.

The Five Diamond is also one of the few remaining $10,000 buy-in events on the international poker circuit. For a period of time, most of the events on the major tours had $10,000 buy-ins but the fields started to dry up as the poker boom faded. Organizers eventually lowered them to $5,000 or less and fields rebounded.

These days, however, it appears there’s once again an appetite for $10,000 tournaments.

Day 2 chip leader Calvin Anderson had a different idea about why the Five Diamond tournament consistently draws well.

“December’s my favorite month of the year because a lot of people have extra money and they come out and spend it,” he told the WPT. “This is a phenomenal tournament. I didn’t expect it to be this good.”

The Five Diamond tournament is one of the most prestigious tournaments in poker and has been won by Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari over the years.

It also used to have one of the longest names in poker as it was referred to at one point as the WPT Five Diamond Doyle Brunson Poker Classic.

This year’s Five Diamond seems like it will be hard to beat but the WPT will certainly try. The tour heads to LA for the WPT Gardens Championship in mid-January.