The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is officially in the books with the completion of the final two events – Event #87 which was won by Michael Addamo, and Event #88 which was taken down by Boris Kolev. Now, all eyes will be on the figures recorded by the festival which ran for nearly two months. It kicked off on September 30 and wrapped up this week, awarding 88 bracelets in live events, plus 11 online.
The 2021 series was extra-special as it marked the festival’s return after taking a break for more than two years as a result of the pandemic. It was no easy feat holding such a massive event in a post-COVID world but the WSOP team was able to pull it off despite the huge challenges along the way.
This year’s festival also allowed players and fans to bid goodbye to The Rio one last time, as the series moves to a new location in 2022, at Bally’s and Paris on the Las Vegas Strip. The Rio was home to the WSOP for 17 years, playing host to the world’s longest-running poker festival since 2005.
2021 WSOP Awards $237.9 million
When organizers announced a fall series, players and fans around the world were delighted as they could finally pursue their bracelet dream. But some skeptics doubted the possibility of a live festival taking place, especially as COVID-19 cases were still on the rise around the time the announcement was made.
The months leading to the huge event were filled with uncertainties as everyone kept a close eye on the COVID-19 situation in the US and around the world. Organizers remained optimistic that the series would return this year and it happened, thanks to their enormous hard work and effort. And the series didn’t just happen – it ended successfully, capping off a 17-year run at The Rio.
The series attracted the second-largest turnout, a total of 127,245 entries across 88 live bracelet events and 11 online tournaments. It awarded the third-largest prize pool, an astonishing $237.9 million, and this figure does not yet include the summer bracelet series on GGPoker. If the international online festival is factored in, the WSOP has awarded $347 million this year alone.
These huge figures come as no surprise given the number of bracelets being offered this year. The 2021 series offered the most number of bracelets, a total of 99, awarded in both live (88) and online (11) tournaments.
Attendance Dropped in Key Events
As anticipated, attendance numbers were lower than the last edition in 2019, mainly due to international travel bans that were still in effect until early November. This means that for the most part of the festival, plenty of players overseas weren’t able to take part, and this resulted in a drop in participation numbers.
The turnout for The Millionaire Maker was down by almost 40%, while entries for the Colossus also dropped by 28%. Even the Main Event also recorded a decline in attendance, with the flagship tournament attracting 6,650 players, a drop of 22% on 2019’s figures.
But the 2021 series was a phenomenal success overall, with the WSOP bringing in $21.2 million worth of tournament fees throughout the festival, $6.4 million of that went to the dealers.
$3.5 Billion in Prizes Paid Out In The Last 51 Years
Since 1970, the WSOP has offered top-notch live poker action and giving huge opportunities to players; the WSOP has paid out $3.5 billion in prizes and attracted a total of 1.5 million entries.
Even with these massive achievements, the WSOP has consistently worked hard to come up with a better and even bigger series each year. It will be interesting to see how next year’s festival will fare given its new venue. The 2022 WSOP returns to its usual summer schedule and will take place at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas.