There were glitches at the rollout of this year’s World Series of Poker. There were some dealers that made notable mistakes, though it should be noted that many of them are new and took the jobs to accommodate the WSOP specifically. There was the air conditioning malfunction in the primary Bally’s ballroom. Those same situations could have occurred at any property, at any tournament series.
However, for the most part, the WSOP has gone rather smoothly.
The two convention centers – Bally’s and Paris – are closer in proximity than many people imagined. Both areas are spacious and bright. Directions for players – where to register, how to register online, etc. – were clear and helped players navigate the new WSOP location(s) fairly easily. There are many restaurant options in and around the two casinos, from a food court to steakhouses, from cafés to Nobu and high-end French cuisine.
Everyone knows that I’m no cheerleader for the WSOP in general, and I’ve waged my fair share of criticisms through the years. But I can’t help but see the positive reviews from players and take what I’ve seen with my own eyes to give good reviews this year.
The WSOP is showing its true potential. And poker, as a whole, will benefit from it.
Since we checked in last week, international poker players have captured a few bracelet wins. They were:
-Yuliyan Kolev of Bulgaria (Event 37)
-Pedro Bromfman of Brazil (Event 38)
-Fabian Brandes of Germany (Event 39)
-Aleksajs Ponakovs of Latvia (Event 42)
-Jonathan Pastore of France (Event 46)
-Menikos Panagiotou of Cyprus (Event 48)
A couple of players who were on the “list of top players without a bracelet” finally joined the bracelet club.
-Ali Eslami (Event 36)
-Alex Foxen (Event 50)
One player already won two bracelets this year. In fact, Dan Zack won two of them in just ten days when he took down Event 15 (Omaha-8 Championship) and Event 40 (Stud-8 Championship). Those go nicely with his 2019 bracelet in Limit Mixed Triple Draw.
Phil Hui won his third career bracelet by taking down Event 45 (PLO). Interestingly, he noted that he now has more than his wife, Loni Hui (nee Loni Harwood), who still only has two. Competition is fun.
Big Events Bring Big Crowds
Last week, the Millionaire Maker finished up, and this weekend kicked off the Colossus. These are just two of the tournaments that bring the masses to the WSOP. They are generally low buy-in tournaments, often with reentries allowed, and a chance to play a WSOP event. The numbers in these events have been impressive and, in several cases, record-setting.
The first of these big tournaments this year was Event 5, the $500 Housewarming.
- Total entries: 20,080
- Total prize pool: $8,435,280 ($5M GTD)
- Players paid: 3,013
- Best compared to Reunion tournament in 2021 with 12,973 (no exact equivalent)
The next was the Monster Stack, Event 21, with a $1,500 buy-in but known for bringing in a lot of players.
- Total entries: 6,501
- Total prize pool: $8,678,835
- Players paid: 976
- Substantially more than 3,520 in 2021 and beating 6,035 entries in 2019
Then there was the Millionaire Maker, Event 37, also with a $1,500 buy-in but guaranteeing at least $1M for the winner.
- Total entries: 7,961
- Total prize pool: $10,627,935
- Players paid: 1,193
- Far beyond the 4,326 in 2021 but not quite the 8,809 entries from 2019
It’s fair to throw the Seniors Championship into the mix as well due to its sheer size. Event 47 was that tournament with a $1K buy-in for players aged 50 and older.
- Total entries: 7,188
- Total prize pool: $6,397,320
- Players paid: 1,079
- Left previous years (5,404 in 2021 and 5,916 in 2019) in the dust
Most recent was Event 51, the $400 buy-in Colossus. While it is still in progress, PokerNews is reporting the numbers.
- Total entries: 13,565
- Total prize pool: $1,936,770
- Players paid: 1,695
- Greatly surpassed 9,399 entries from 2021 and beat 2019 and its 13,109 entries
There is a lot of speculation that the Main Event could set a new all-time record this year. The action thus far shows that it is entirely possible.