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Gambling Related Essays and Reports by Andrew W Scott


World Series of Poker - Will the Main Event beat last year's US $87,730,000 prize pool?

June 5th 2007

It's that time of year again - World Series of Poker time.

Since Australia's own Joe Hachem won the US$7,500,000 first prize of the 2005 WSOP main event, interest in the WSOP from the Australian poker fraternity has been huge. The first ever WSOP main event for which a cash prize was paid was played in 1971, between a mere six people, in a smoke filled room at the spiritual home of World Poker - the Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. It was won by Johny Moss, defeating Puggy Pearson, and pocketing the winner-takes-all US$30,000 prize in the process, serious money in the early 1970s.

But neither Moss nor Pearson could possibly have imagined what the future would hold. The table below shows the incredible explosion that poker would experience over the next 35 years. Last year the main event took an incredible 8,773 entrants, each coughing up the US$10,000 entry fee the event has had since 1972 (in 1971 the entry fee was "only" US$5,000). That's a total prize pool of US$87,730,000!

It is now played in an enormous hall with a 3,000 player capacity at the Rio casino in Las Vegas. It took eight days for the 2006 champion, Jamie Gold, to overcome his 8,772 opponents in the main event, and claim the US$12,000,000 first prize. The main event is of course no-limit Texas Hold'em Poker, the granddaddy of all poker variants. The WSOP is now so huge that it takes over a month just to conduct the schedule of 54 lead-up events, before even starting the main event. Although this year's WSOP started last Saturday, it will not be until 6 July before the main event kicks-off. This year "the big one" will be a 12 day marathon, slated to finally end on 17 July (well, if previous years are a guide, it will really be more like 4am the next morning).

There has been much speculation about how many entrants there will be in this year's main event, with some bookmakers even taking bets on it. While poker is exploding world-wide, it has hit a serious snag with George W Bush signing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act last year. Thousands of last year's entries won their seats in the main event by winning satellite tournaments at Internet Poker sites. It is unclear how the WSOP will deal with such satellite winners this year. Some pundits are predicting as few as 3,500 entrants, with others as many as 15,000. A well known poker website is running a "nearest the pin" competition on guessing the number of entrants. So far it has taken 334 guesses, with the average guess being 12,992. Most experts are predicting fewer than last year's 8,773 entrants, but last Saturday's lead-up event shocked them. It had a field of an astounding 2,998 entries - the highest ever for a non-main event poker tournament in the world. In fact, it was the third biggest poker tournament in all time history, after the 2006 and 2007 main events. The Rio casino can "only" cope with 3,000 entrants at a time, and has scheduled three rounds of day one, implying that they expect no more than 9,000 will enter the main event. Watch this space!

 

World Series of Poker Main Event

Year
Winner
Prize in USD
Entrants
Runner up
2006
Jamie Gold
12,000,000
8,773
Paul Wasicka
2005
'Aussie' Joe Hachem
7,500,000
5,619
Steve Dannenman
2004
Greg 'The Fossilman' Raymer
5,000,000
2,576
David Williams
2003
Chris Moneymaker
2,500,000
839
Sammy Farha
2002
Robert Varkonyi
2,000,000
631
Julian Gardner
2001
Carlos 'The Matador' Mortenson
1,500,000
613
Dewey Tomko
2000
Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson
1,500,000
512
T J Cloutier
1999
Noel Furlong
1,000,000
393
Alan Goehring
1998
Scotty Nguyen
1,000,000
350
Kevin McBride
1997
Stu Ungar
1,000,000
312
John Strzemp
1996
Huck Seed
1,000,000
295
Bruce Van Horn
1995
Dan Harrington
1,000,000
273
Howard Goldfarb
1994
Russ Hamilton
1,000,000
268
Hugh Vincent
1993
Jim Bechtel
1,000,000
220
Glenn Cozen
1992
Hamid Dastmalchi
1,000,000
201
Tom Jacobs
1991
Brad Daugherty
1,000,000
215
Don Holt
1990
Mansour Matloubi
895,000
194
Hans Lund
1989
Phil Hellmuth Jr
755,000
178
Johnny Chan
1988
Johnny Chan
700,000
167
Erik Seidel
1987
Johnny Chan
625,000
152
Frank Henderson
1986
Berry Johnston
570,000
141
Mike Harthcock
1985
Bill Smith
700,000
140
T. J. Cloutier
1984
Jack Keller
660,000
132
Byron Wolford
1983
Tom McEvoy
540,000
108
Rod Peate
1982
Jack Strauss
520,000
104
Dewey Tomko
1981
Stu Ungar
375,000
75
Perry Green
1980
Stu Ungar
385,000
73
Doyle Brunson
1979
Hal Fowler
270,000
54
Bobby Hoff
1978
Bobby Baldwin
210,000
42
Crandall Addington
1977
Doyle 'Texas Dolly' Brunson
340,000
34
Gary Berland
1976
Doyle 'Texas Dolly' Brunson
220,000
22
Jesse Alto
1975
Brian 'Sailor' Roberts
210,000
21
Bob Hooks
1974
Johnny Moss
160,000
16
Crandall Addington
1973
Walter 'Puggy' Pearson
130,000
13
Johnny Moss
1972
Thomas 'Amarillo Slim' Preston
80,000
8
Walter 'Puggy' Pearson
1971
Johnny Moss
30,000
6
Walter 'Puggy' Pearson

 

2007 Andrew W Scott
andrew@andrewscott.com

 


 

 

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