Now into its second full week, the World Series of Poker continues to smash records for attendance and prize pools.
Last Saturday, the largest number of poker players ever to enter a single day of events filled the Rio All-Suites Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
The two tournaments held that day combined for a record 3,009 entries. The $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event attracted 2,628 entries. The $2,500 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship attracted 381 players (which was also the largest H.O.R.S.E. tournament in history).
No single day in the 38-year history of the WSOP has been busier. In fact, the huge turnout is believed to be the biggest tournament day of any poker event held anywhere.
"We are off to a terrific start this year," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "I continue to believe this will be the best World Series of Poker ever."
The record number of players surpassed the old mark by 11 participants. Just a week before, 2,998 tournament players registered for the day’s events.
Because of the record number of players, the payoffs for the winners were substantial. First place in Event No. 15 paid $637,254 and 270 players received prize money. First place in Event No. 16 paid $238,881 and paid 876 places.
Proving the numbers were no fluke, the field for Event No. 17, the Ladies World Championship of No-Limit Hold’em, set a record of its own when it kicked off on Sunday.
A total of 1,286 women entered the tournament, contributing to a combined prize pool of $1,755,390.
A total of 99 places will be paid for this event with the 99th receiving $2,896 and the first place champion receiving $393,139.
The huge field of femme fatale poker players was a nice change for World Series staff and spectators. Often times when a player was eliminated or "busted out," there were hugs and well-wishes spread among players.
The massive field did lead to some massive congestion at the restrooms during breaks, when the lines were often 100-women deep.
The crowding even caused some women to seek relief in a few men’s rooms, causing a few raised eyebrows for unsuspecting gentlemen.
The largest poker tournament in history remains the 2006 WSOP $10,000 buy-in championship event, with 8,773 players. However, that official "Day One" was divided across four separate dates, due to the enormous size of the field.