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April 19, 2014

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WSOP Main Event numbers are in: 6,352 players out for $8.3 million title

Chris Moneymaker honored at Day 1C

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

WSOP Main Event Day 1

Joe Cada reacts during play during a round of play on the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event Saturday, July 6, 2012, at the Rio in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

2013 WSOP Main Event final table payouts

  • 1st: $8,359,531
  • 2nd: $5,173,170
  • 3rd: $3,727,023
  • 4th: $2,791,983
  • 5th: $2,106,526
  • 6th: $1,600,792
  • 7th: $1,225,224
  • 8th: $944,593
  • 9th: $733,224

Chris Moneymaker peered out into a sea of poker players and briefly reflected on the past decade.

The World Series of Poker undraped a tribute bust to Moneymaker on Monday, 10 years after the former accountant from Memphis defeated 838 players to win $2.5 million in the world championship Main Event.

“Back then, I knew three poker players,” Moneymaker said at the ceremony. “Over the last 10 years, I’ve met thousands and thousands of wonderful people in this game. It’s really evolved into something magical, and what you see here today.”

What was on display at the Rio was the biggest single-day starting field in Main Event history as 3,467 players paid the $10,000 entry fee to compete in the final of three starting days for poker’s world championship.

That brought the total number of players for the 2013 Main Event to 6,352, the lowest turnout since 2005, which was the last year the final table was held at Binion’s Horseshoe.

It’s the eighth largest Main Event of all-time, falling just six players short of surpassing the 2007 edition when amateur Jerry Yang won $8,250,000.

This year’s winner, however, will pocket more than Yang as first-place pays a hefty $8,359,531. Despite the dip in players — 246 more showed up last year — WSOP officials were pleased with the total, and the fact that 83 different countries are represented in the event.

“If you don’t get a chance to play in any other event, this is the one you scrounge up enough money to get into, to satellite into,” Tournament Director Jack Effel said before honoring Moneymaker. “We’ve had an enormous amount of satellite winners the last few days.”

One-table satellites, where one player out of 10 wins a Main Event buy-in, for $1,060 ran all afternoon as hopefuls tried to play their way into the biggest tournament of the year before the registration deadline.

It was a fitting scene on a day dedicated to Moneymaker, as he got into the 2003 Main Event by investing $39 and winning a series of online satellites.

The unavailability to online poker for most of the nation is one of the factors for the decreased attendance, as it also was in each of the last two years.

But it doesn’t take anything away from what’s at stake.

“It’s going to be one of you who’s up on this stage sometime collecting the most coveted prize in all of poker,” Effel said before play began, in a moment that likely sent chills up the spines of several players.

The total prize pool for the 2013 WSOP Main Event is $59,788,800. The nine players who advance to the final table, which will be played at the Penn & Teller Theater on Nov. 4 and 5, are guaranteed $733,224 with the top seven earning seven-figures.

Play will continue at the Rio through next Monday night or early Tuesday morning when a final table emerges.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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