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October 20, 2019

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World Series of Poker Main Event draws second largest field of all time

Winner will earn $8.8 million next Saturday night at Rio

WSOP 2018: Main Event Day 1

Christopher DeVargas

Day 1 of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Monday July 2, 2018.

WSOP 2018: Main Event Day 1

A man receives a head massage while competing on day 1 of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Monday July 2, 2018. Launch slideshow »

Players don’t appear to mind the tweaked format of this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event.

The world championship event drew the second most entrants in its history, with 7,874 players paying the $10,000 entry fee before registration closed at around 7 p.m. tonight at the Rio. The eventual winner will claim $8.8 million, the fifth largest prize in the history of the tournament.

And he or she will earn it faster than any champion in the last decade, as the Main Event will play out daily though its July 14 finale without any pauses in the action.

The new schedule is in stark contrast to only two years ago, when the final table of nine players that emerged in July still waited until November to crown a champion. Even last year when the “November Nine” was ditched after a nine-year run, the finalists received one day off.

Some wondered how players would respond to the change, but the final numbers indicate it didn’t have any negative impact. Entries were up from last year in each of the three starting days, culminating with 4,571 players signing up on Wednesday’s Day 1C.

It was the largest starting flight in Main Event history.

The massive field pushed the total prize pool up to $74,015,600. A record 1,181 players will make the money, 15 percent of the starting field, with payouts starting at $15,000.

Everyone to make the final table will earn at least $1 million.

The tournament could get into the money as soon as early as Saturday night, during Day 3 of play. That’s the first day fields will be combined, as tomorrow’s Day 2 action will feature all the players who survived Monday and Tuesday while Friday’s session sees the return of Day 1C players.

ESPN or ESPN2 will air at least three hours of coverage every day leading up to the final table, which will be shown in its entirety. Television considerations were part of the reason for this year’s quicker conclusion.

The change seems to have worked for everyone, or at least didn’t deter any players from entering.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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