The World Series of Poker’s Main Event begins Saturday with more than 75,000 entrants competing for more than $192 million in prize money.
The 43rd annual Main Event caps 61 individual tournaments that have taken place at Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino over the past month.
The 480 poker tables are set up in the 125,000 square foot ballroom space with more than 105 nations represented.
The defending champion from 2011 is Germany’s Pius Heinz, who at age 22, took home the grand prize of $8.71 million and the coveted WSOP winners’ bracelet.
Among the defending Main Event champs in the field are 2010 winner Jonathon Duhamel, 2004 titlist Greg “Fossilman” Raymer and 2000 victor Chris “Jesus” Ferguson
ESPN will be televising live.
Michael Mizrachi captured the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship for the second time in the last three years.
The victory capped a sensational two-year stretch for Mizrachi in World Series of Poker events.
During that stretch he has three gold bracelet victories, nine final table appearances, a deep run into the Main Event as one of the “November Nine,” and about $5 million in prize money earned.
Known in the poker world as “the Grinder,” Mizrachi handled a tough final table that included former gold bracelet winners Bill Chen and Andy Bloch.
Mizrachi also defeated the highly-respected Chris Klodnicki in heads-up play. The finals were shown live around the world on the WSOP.com website.
Mizrachi’s winning check was more than $1.45 million.
Hellmuth gets No. 12
Poker icon Phil Hellmuth won a record 12th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $2,500 Seven-Card Razz event, defeating Don Zewin and earning $182,793.
Zewin had finished third to Chan and Hellmuth when Hellmuth won his first bracelet in 1989.
This is the first bracelet Hellmuth has won in a non-hold’em event, and made him the first player to win at least one bracelet in each of the last four decades.