WSOP 2016 now in full flight at the Rio

July 12, 2016 3:08 AM


The World Series of Poker Main Event kicked off last Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. This was the first of three flights in the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em championship event.

A total of 764 players entered flight 1A, which normally features the smallest turn out. Last year 741 were in the first flight, and the tournament ended up drawing 6,420 entries. This year players in the Main Event started with 50,000 chips, up from 30,000 chips last year, and played two-hour levels.

This event will pay out 1,000 places or 15 percent of the field, whichever is greater. The minimum payout will be $15,000 for making it in the money.

On Monday, July 18, the Main Event will play down to the final nine players, who will return to Las Vegas on Oct. 30 to play the final table at the Penn & Teller Theater.

There is no way to know who will be crowned this year’s Main Event champion, but one thing is for sure – his or her life will be changed forever as the winner becomes a multi-millionaire and a part of poker history.

When the World Series of Poker began in 1970 at Binion’s Horseshoe with six players, founder Benny Binion never could have imagined the massive playing fields that mark the WSOP 47 years later.

At the beginning of this year’s WSOP, Event No. 2, the Colossus No-Limit Hold’em tournament alone drew 21,613 entries, falling short of last year’s 22,374, which set the record for the most entries in a live poker tournament.

The Colossus’ prize pool swelled to $10,806,500 while the top 3,245 players made the money with first place paying $1 million – numbers Binion could never have envisioned in his wildest dreams.

The WSOP is a yearly celebration of the best and brightest names in poker, but this year’s event was not without its controversies. The $10,000 Stud Championship was marred on its opening weekend with the appearance of Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, one of the disgraced founders of Full Tilt Poker, which was shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice on April 15, 2011, known as “Black Friday.”

The civil complaint alleged Ferguson and other company directors paid out $444 million to themselves in an elaborate Ponzi scheme using players’ money.

Black Friday marked the end of the poker boom, but who knows, maybe a woman will win the Main Event, sparking a new era in the game I love.