The starting field for the World Series of Poker was established Monday at 6,494 players, slightly less than last year, but hundreds of players were turned away because of the lack of space. Actress turned poker player Shannon Elizabeth (pictured) was among the World Series of Poker players Monday to advance to the second round.
WSOP officials said players waited too long – up to 500 of them – with Monday’s field "technically a sell-out" because "every available seat and table" was used in the tournament.
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There was plenty of space available the first three days of round one, which attracted 3,685 players.
"The unprecedented situation reduced the field size of the main event by at least a few hundred players (estimates vary)," WSOP officials said in a release.
Many of the players shut out from playing complained about traveling a great distance, only to be told the event was "sold out."
"This never would have happened before Harrah’s took over," said one player who asked that his name be withheld. "There was always an overflow area or tent where extra tables could be set up. They have enough dealers, there’s no reason why they couldn’t accommodate a few hundred more players."
Indeed, in previous World Series main events, there were tents and extra tables set up for "overflow" from the main tournament room, but Harrah’s discontinued that practice last year.
One of the reasons cited for eliminating the tents was that the temperatures would climb into the 90s since the air conditioning was less effective.
One player said they didn’t need a tent, since may of the adjoining ballrooms at the Rio were set up with tables for satellite play and cash games, and that they could have been "drafted into service" for the main event.
Nonetheless, the main event continues today with a total of 4,399 players left standing after the opening round was completed Monday night.
This year’s field of 6,494 players generated a prize pool of about $61 million; the first place prize is set at $8,546,435. Last year, the field of 6,844 players battled for a $9.15 million top prize.
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