When World Series of Poker (WSOP) officials announced the schedule for this year’s events, it was clear that they wanted the 50th anniversary event to be a big one. As we’ll see in this week’s WSOP Weekly, they have definitely accomplished their mission.
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WSOP Main Event 2nd-largest in history
The granddaddy of poker tournaments, the WSOP Main Event, is underway right now. This year’s event has already rocketed past expectations about how many entrants would pay the $10,000 entry fee.
In total, three flights fielded a whopping 8,569 buy-ins to the big event. That figure places the 2019 WSOP Main Event as the 2nd-largest in the event’s history. Only 2006’s field of 8,773 strong eclipses it.
That year, Jamie Gold secured the biggest score in tournament history as well, when his first place finish yielded a $12 million grand prize. This year’s winner will only take home $10 million, thanks to a flatter pay structure.
Still, this year’s field is almost 700 players larger than last year’s event. Whether the increase is due to an improved economy or a rising interest in poker is unclear, but a big Main Event can’t be anything but good.
Robert Campbell needs both his wrists at this year’s WSOP
To be sure, it’s not easy to win a WSOP bracelet. Invariably, however, someone wins more than one at a single WSOP.
This year, it took 67 events to crown a repeat winner. Australian player Robert Campbell picked up his second championship of the Series by winning the $10,000 buy-in Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better event.
The bracelet from that win joined his trophy from the $1,500 buy-in Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw tournament. The win was the seventh cash for the poker player, who has racked up $665,508 in earnings so far this year.
Needless to say, that performance has caused Campbell to stand out from the field a bit. Fittingly, he holds a 159-point lead over Daniel Zack for WSOP Player of the Year honors right now.
With so few events left, he’s in a pretty good position to take that trophy home, too.
The 2019 WSOP will be memorable for many reasons
In any annual event, some iterations end up standing out more than others. Based upon the occurrences at this year’s WSOP, there’s no doubt that the 2019 edition won’t leave anyone’s mind for a while.
For one thing, the entire event began with a fun but somber tribute to Gavin Smith, who unexpectedly passed away earlier this year. The combination of comedy event and poker tournament paid homage to the underrated poker figure, who will be missed for his heart as much as his poker skill.
This year’s WSOP also featured the attendance of poker player Kevin Roster. Roster, who is suffering from terminal cancer, aimed to attract awareness to his condition and to live out some of his final days doing what he loves.
On a lighter note, one player at this year’s Main Event handled his bust-out with a remarkably low amount of aplomb. The Pittsburgh Pirates-wearing player dealt with the cruel hand of variance by dropping his pants and exposing himself repeatedly before throwing one of his shoes on the table.
— Scott Davies (@sdaviespoker) July 5, 2019
Finally, it will always be possible to say that this year’s Main Event truly shook the pillars of heaven. Or, so it seemed. Play on Day 1C paused after waves from a 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattled players, tables, and chips.
WSOP Winners Circle
A familiar face managed to score some gold hardware during the past week at the WSOP. Poker commentator Nick Schulman managed to win the $10,000 PLO8 or Better Championship. He earned $463,670 for his efforts.
Of course, Schulman is not simply a commentator; he is an excellent and skilled poker player with more than $3.3 million in WSOP cashes alone. In fact, this win was his third bit of WSOP gold.
The other notable win occurred in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. Finnish poker star Juha Helppi scored the win and put just over $306,000 in his pocket.
Helppi picked up his first bracelet in the win, which always makes things a bit more special. He is the second-most successful poker player ever from the Scandinavian country – only Patrik Antonius surpasses Helppi’s lifetime earnings.
This week at the WSOP
There are not too many tournaments left in this year’s festivities. But, a focused player could still make themselves quite a memorable Series if they put their mind to it this week.
- Event #80: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em Pot-Limit Omaha (July 10) – This event will keep players on their toes, to be sure. The mixed structure means that specialists in either game are going to have to adapt to their surroundings. Otherwise, they might find themselves sitting out entire orbits.
- Event #81: $1,500 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold’em (July 10) – As its name implies, this event is only open to past bracelet winners. However, fans of poker will not find a more highly-concentrated group of poker talent than when this event kicks off.
- Event #84: The Closer – $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (July 12) – All good things must come to an end, and this tournament is the way that the WSOP wants to wind things up. Of course, it’s not a true closer – there will still be a few tournaments after it. However, with three starting flights, this event is probably the last big tilt until next year.
- Event #88: $500 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold’em Summer Saver (July 14) – Early in the year, the prospects of fielding great numbers in these online events looked a bit bleak. The Department of Justice had clamped down, and it seemed as though New Jersey players might be on the outside looking in. Thankfully, it did not come to pass. As a result, there have been eight great online tournaments over the past few weeks. This event is the last one, so make sure to log in one last time.
Event #90 – $50,000 Final Fifty No-Limit Hold’em (July 8)
This event is a late addition and has come out of nowhere. However, a $50k buy-in event is worthy of attention, whenever it appears.
The Final Fifty, which runs tonight at 6 p.m., promises to be a big payout for its eventual winner. It will likely attract some of the biggest sharks in the ocean.
The structure will tend to favor the skillful players, too. Stacks begin at 300,000 tournament chips, and blind levels are a comfortable 40 minutes long.
Even if players miss tonight’s hands, there is still an opportunity. Registration for this tournament extends to the start of Day 2 (July 9).
This event will also feature a shot clock to minimize tanking. Overall, it’s a pretty tasty tournament for anyone with a spare 50 grand to throw around.
Event #83: $100,000 High Roller – July 11
The Final Fifty would be the big deal in most tournament series. Of course, since this is the WSOP, it is merely the warm-up act.
Three days after the $50k buy-in event, players can circle back around for double the price. The $100,000 High Roller is the last chance to crank things up to 11 in the Rio.
Blind levels for this tournament are still 40 minutes long. However, a six-figure buy-in gets players 600,000 in tournament chips.
Like its predecessor, there is no doubt that some of the biggest names in poker will grace the seats of this event. Obviously, the price tag is pretty steep for most people, but a bracelet in this tournament would always be quite the prize.
There’s not much time left in the 2019 WSOP. But, there’s still a chance to change things forever – don’t miss it!
(Featured image courtesy of WSOP)