Well, the dust has settled from the 2017 World Series of Poker preliminary events, and now all eyes are focused on the Main Event. There were a lot of questions coming into this year. Many were concerned if $10,000 was still a buy-in that enough people could afford. Others wondered if the World Series of Poker had lost any of its significance as a premier event with all the new events around the globe. Everyone waited with baited breath for the 3 start days for the event to begin filling up.
The end result was astonishing: the 2017 WSOP Main Event numbers are in, and the total number of entrants is 7,221! To give you a point of reference, that number is the 3rd highest total in the history of the event. The only two events to have more players are the 2006 Main Event with 8,773 (when almost 4,000 players qualified online) and 2010 when 7,319 players were playing for the coveted bracelet.
Incredibly, as part of this year’s 7,221 entrants, over 4,000 of them played the third day. That is the single largest number of entrants in one day of the event. Congratulations to the Rio, the WSOP staff and the Tournament Directors for managing their way through that.
A field of 7,221 players creates one hell of a prize pool as well. The total amount of money that will be won in this year’s Main Event is a whopping $67,877,400, with $8,150,000 set aside for the winner of the event. In all, 1084 players will make the money this year, with the lowest payout being $15,000.
With all the excitement about the number of players and who is seated at the tables in the Rio, there is one name that is conspicuously absent from the event. Phil Ivey, arguably one of the best handful of poker players in the world, is unable to be in Las Vegas this year as he has a hearing scheduled with the British Supreme Court scheduled for Thursday, July 13th. For those of you who don’t know, Ivey is embroiled in a battle with Crockfords Casino over alleged cheating by Ivey. He won over $9,000,000 from the casino one-night playing Baccarat with some assistance by Edge Sorting, which the casino considers to be against the rules. Given that Ivey could receive more money from winning this case than he could by playing the Main Event of the WSOP, it isn’t too difficult to understand why he had to make that decision.
One of the favorites from a gambling perspective this year would have been Vanessa Selbst. One of the fan favorites on tour, Vanessa has had a string of significant victories, however on the feature table during her Day 1 she ran into a buzz saw of a cooler. Her Aces were up against pocket 7s and after both players flopped a set, her opponent Gaelle Baumann picked up the case seven on the river. With that card, Selbst was out of the main event within the first two hours.
One significant change from previous years is that this year there is no November Nine. The concept of the 3-month break was actually designed by ESPN to give them time to edit and show multiple episodes leading up to the “live” Final Table. This year, streaming poker has become more popular than ever, and the WSOP did a dual broadcasting deal with ESPN and new streaming app Poker Go for the coverage. As a result, we are now able to watch live (on a 30-minute tape delay) tables from Day 2 onward, and the Final Table will happen more traditionally without a break in the action.
So, any questions about the state of poker and the WSOP have been answered for now. With the 3rd highest number of entrants, it is safe to say that the World Series of Poker Main Event is still the granddaddy of all the poker events in the world. We will soon know who will get to join the Champions Club!
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