Records falling at World Series

Jul 4, 2005 2:30 AM


As we approach the $10,000 buy-in championship event, the 36th annual World Series of Poker has generated more player registrations than any other live poker tournament in history.

The record, which replaces the one set by the 35th annual World Series of Poker last year, came midway through the series, which is being played at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Through the first 21 WSOP events (there are a total of 45 events), there were 14,439 player registrations, which exceeded the 14,054 registrations filed in all of the WSOP events last year.

Tournament organizers predict the total number of registrations will reach 23,000 by the time the main event begins July 7.

"With each new event we host, we’re breaking another record," said Gary Thompson, director of operations and communications for the WSOP. "The players are contributing to a prize pool that will dwarf such events as the Indy 500, Kentucky Derby and the Masters."

To date, the record field includes players from 45 nations around the globe, further cementing the tournament’s position as an international phenomenon.

"We’re thrilled to host so many poker enthusiasts from so many different walks of life," Thompson said. "The turnout at this year’s World Series of Poker proves the popularity of this game is still growing — and that its appeal is continually being discovered by new audiences."

Tournament officials announced they believe the total prize money for this year’s events will reach $100 million, another record. Again, the 35th annual World Series of Poker set the previous mark, with nearly $45 million in total prize money.

"I’ve been playing tournament poker for a long time, but I’ve never seen anything like this," said Robert Williamson III, who has made multiple World Series of Poker final tables in the last five years, and has won a gold bracelet in Pot-Limit Omaha. "I’ve always been bullish on poker — it’s the greatest game I’ve every played — but there’s no way I would have guessed we’d hit $100 million this year."

More milestones will be eclipsed when the World Championship event, the $10,000 buy-in, No Limit Hold’em tournament begins on Thursday.

Such a huge field is expected (about 6,600 players), that the day one elimination tournament was expanded to three days.

Last year’s record number of entrants, 2,576 players, produced a record-setting payoff of $5 million to eventual winner Greg Raymer.

This year’s numbers will grow exponentially with a record field of about 6,600.

The final two days of the championship event will be held at Binion’s (July 14-15).

The complete schedule for this year’s $10,000 buy-in, No Limit Hold’em championship event appears on page 10.