Hold your thumb and your index finger just far enough apart so that you could be squeezing a grape. That’s how close the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event came to breaking the record for the largest WSOP Main Event ever.
With registration closing as Day 2C began, the official numbers are in and 8,569 players put this year’s Main Event just 204 runners behind the all-time record set in 2006. That year, 8,773 runners created an $82,512,162 prize pool and Jamie Gold took home $12,000,000. This year, the prize pool hit $80,548,600 and the eventual winner will end up banking $10,000,000.
“Truly an incredible cherry on top of a wonderful 50th World Series of Poker,” Seth Palansky, Vice President of Corporate Communication for Caesars Entertainment, said. “The numbers this summer speak for themselves. Poker is alive and well and we can’t thank the players enough for continuing to support the World Series of Poker brand. Seeing an eight as the first number of the Main Event really did seem unfathomable with the majority of the U.S. shutout from playing the game online. But the WSOP Main Event has always been special and we’re incredibly grateful for those that came from six different continents to participate in this year’s Main Event.”
As Palansky pointed out, the field eclipsed the 8,000 runner mark for just the second time ever. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Main Event field size has increased and the third straight year of at least 7% year-over-year growth.
The near-record setting field comes just over eight years after Black Friday left poker’s most prestigious event in a tough spot. In 2011, less than three months after PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and UB/Absolute Poker were shut down within the United States, leaving many players’ bankrolls stranded on those sites. That year, 6,865 players entered the Main Event – a 454-player drop from 2010. Attendance dropped again in 2012 and 2013 before showing growth in 2014 with 6,683 entrants and a 5.21% increase.
The number dropped again in 2015 before hitting 6,737 runners in 2016. It’s grown every year since.
This was the first year that registration remained open after Day 1 was complete. Players were able to register for the event up until the start of each Day 2AB and 2C. Just 100 players took advantage on Day 2AB, but 344 players registered on Sunday to give a final push.
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The 2019 WSOP Main Event champion will earn exactly $10 million. This is only the third time in WSOP history that the winner gets an eight-figure payday. Gold was the first to do it when he won $12 million for his 2006 and Martin Jacobson earned $10 million in 2014 after tournament organizers guaranteed that much for first place.
Every player who makes the final table will earn at least $1 million. The runner-up will have to console themselves with $6,000,000. The min-cash, for players finishing between 1063rd and 1286th place, is worth $15,000.
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