Making millionaires

Jun 20, 2005 12:53 AM

Through Event No. 7 of the World Series of Poker, total prize money awarded to winners reached $10,829,050. To give this figure some perspective, the $10 million barrier was not crossed until Event No. 16 last year.

Ten years ago, the WSOP awarded $10,904,500 for the entire tournament, which was the first year that total prize money exceeded the $10 million mark.

Based on projections, the total prize pool for the entire 2005 WSOP could reach $100 million. This makes the WSOP the richest competition in all of sports!

Not every players will win a million dollars, but every player in the "naked city" has a story to tell. Although tens of thousands of poker players are expected to descend upon the Rio over the six week period that makes up the World Series, some characters emerge which are truly unique. Here are a few interesting players to have so far emerged from this year’s tournament:

Mike Gracz, the 24-year-old winner of Event No. 7, considered dropping out of college to play poker full time. His mother insisted that he finish his education first and then pursue poker. Garcz listened. He earned his degree in finance from North Carolina State, and then started playing in tournaments, including this year’s WSOP. Sure enough, Gracz won right out of the chute and collected a whopping $594,460 for place. The lesson? Always, listen to your mother.

The best thing that happened to Cliff "Bax’ Josephy was taking a bad beat and getting knocked out of Event No. 7. That meant Bax was free the next day to play in the seven-card stud championship (Event No. 8). Despite never having played in a stud tournament before (and being a self-tournament before (and being a self-described novice at the game) Bax managed to pull off a startling upset victory. He topped a field of 473 players and won his first gold bracelet. Sometimes, something bad can lead to something good.

Marc Aubin was so successful as a businessman that he needed something else to satisfy his competitive instincts. The 39-year-old business owner (six different business, actually) decided to take a "poker sabbatical." That meant playing all of the major tournaments in North America, including the WSOP Circuit events. Before going on the road, however, Aubin played online poker for over a year in order to prepare. "Actually, the first thing I did when I decided to take poker seriously was to go into (a major bookstore) and buy every poker book on the shelf. I bought 23 poker books," Aubin said. Whatever he learned through books and online poker seems to be working. Aubin has cashed in six consecutive super satellite tournaments (and earned three WSOP seats in the main event). Expect to see Marc Aubin at a final table in the near future.

The Dewey streak

The World Series of Poker began 36 years ago. No player has played in the championship main event every year, although Walter Clyde "Puggy" Pearson has made an appearance at every single WSOP since 1970.

The record for consecutive entries into the main event belongs to Dewey Tomko. This year mark the 30th straight year Tomko will play in the $10,000 buy-in championship event. Tomko has finished second in the main event on two occasions (1982 and 2001).

Violette turns
those guys green

The first player at this year’s WSOP to cash three-times is former gold bracelet winner Cyndy Violette. She finished 56th out of 2,305 in Event No. 2, 20th out of 548 in Event No. 6, and 2nd out of 1,403 in Event No. 9.

Most remarkable is the fact that Violette is best-known as a seven-card stud expert. To the surprise of many, all three of her cashes this year have taken place in hold’em events.

Stat of the Day:

Total Prize Money Won at WSOP (Lifetime)

Until recently, well-known poker players such as Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, T.J. Cloutier, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson dominated the all-time money standings.

But with prize money bigger than ever, all it takes is a final table appearance or two in the main event to make it into the Top 20 list. At of the start of this year’s tournament, here are the top 20 money winners in World Series of Poker history:




NOTE: All material in this report may be used and/or copied by media for news and publicity purposes.


World Series of Poker Circuit Director of Operations — Ken Lambert

World Series of Poker Tournament Director — John Grooms

Rio Poker Room Manager — Michael Matts

Rio Poker Tournament Director — Robert Daily