The halls of the Rio convention center proved treacherous to navigate through when players in the World Series of Poker Main Event went on break Monday. Although it’s foolish to expect anything less than a flood of humanity during early July at the WSOP, Day 1C of the Main Event was a different beast altogether. The final starting flight of this year’s world championship of poker attracted 3,418 entrants, the biggest single-day field in the history of the tournament.
Marco Ritter had aspirations of becoming the next Pius Heinz, Joe Cada, or of course, Chris Moneymaker when took his seat Saturday afternoon at the World Series of Poker Main Event. The event has spiked in popularity over the years since poker hit the ESPN airwaves, giving 20-somethings such as Ritter the dream of becoming poker’s next star.
Antonio Esfandiari committed to providing commentary on ESPN for the final table of the World Series of Poker’s The Big One For One Drop weeks ago. Instead of spending Tuesday behind the cameras, however, Esfandiari was in front of them.
Antonio Esfandiari made drastic changes to his lifestyle before this summer’s World Series of Poker. The 33-year old Las Vegas resident traded long nights partying at the club for early mornings working out at the gym. He also overhauled his diet in hopes of improving his focus for long hours at the table.
When Guy Laliberte began recruiting participants for the World Series of Poker’s $1 million buy-in The Big One For One Drop tournament last year, he told them he expected to convince 18 players to join. The 52-year old founder of Cirque du Soleil severely underestimated. Laliberte, as it turns out, attracts card sharks as proficiently as he does acrobats.
An emergency workout session, legend has it, enabled Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi to win the Poker Players Championship two years ago. Fixated on the promise of the $1.55 million first-place prize, and overwhelmed by the pressure of trying to snag his first World Series of Poker bracelet, Mizrachi’s friends and family could tell he was an emotional mess when he got down to heads-up play against Vladimir Schmelev.
The $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship at the World Series of Poker may crown its first two-time champion Thursday night. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, who took home $1.5 million by winning the high-profile event two years ago, will enter the eight-handed final table with the chip lead after a memorable surge during the fourth day of play.
There’s swimming in a vast sea among sharks, and then there’s diving into a pool flooded with a bloodthirsty school of them. For a recreational card player, the former describes most events at the World Series of Poker. Players are allowed to continue registering through Monday for the tournament, which lasts five days. These aren’t some of the best poker professionals in the world gunning for the most coveted bracelet of the summer. These are all of them, confined to a space the size of a large living room in the northeast corner of the Rio’s Amazon Room.
Phil Hellmuth extended his record for World Series of Poker championships and exorcised a demon in the process early Monday morning at the Rio. Hellmuth won a $2,500 buy-in razz tournament to add a 12th golden bracelet to his collection. It was almost five years to the day that Hellmuth won his last WSOP event. He’s agonized over notching another ever since.
Many professional card players dedicate their lives to the game without ever winning a World Series of Poker golden bracelet. Aubin Cazals, a 21-year-old from France, earned poker’s top prize within his first week at the Rio. Cazals pocketed $480,564 along with his jewelry in winning the most prestigious event of the 2012 WSOP so far, the $5,000 no-limit hold’em mixed max tournament.
Feeling overwhelmed by the 2012 World Series of Poker, which kicked off with its first open event of the summer Monday, is natural. The 43rd annual WSOP will attract millions of dollars and thousands of players in a combined 61 bracelet events at the Rio over the next six weeks.
The cards may decide winner, but they can't beat the bling. The World Series of Poker unveiled its championship bracelet for the main event winner with what the jeweler called the most expensive championship adornment to be offered in any professional sport.