2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Complete Guide

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) will begin on May 28. The series will run throughout June and conclude on July 16.

This year’s series marks the 50th anniversary for the series. In that half century, the WSOP has grown to become the most prestigious poker event in the entire world.

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The 2019 WSOP features the highest amount of events in the series’ history. Eighty-nine different tournaments will award their winners the WSOP’s famous gold bracelet.

Here are all 89 events.

Date Time Event Buy-in
Wed, May 29th 11:00 AM $500 Casino Employees Event $500
Wed, May 29th 12:00 PM Super Turbo Bounty $10,000
Thu, May 30th 11:00 AM BIG 50 - Flight A $500
Thu, May 30th 3:00 PM $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo Eight or Better $1,500
Fri, May 31st 11:00 AM BIG 50 - Flight B $500
Fri, May 31st 3:00 PM 50th Annual High Roller NLH $50,000
Sat, Jun 1st 10:00 AM BIG 50 - Flight C $500
Sat, Jun 1st 3:00 PM $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw $2,500
Sun, Jun 2nd 10:00 AM BIG 50 - Flight D $500
Sun, Jun 2nd 3:30 PM No-Limit Hold’em (Online) $400
Sun, Jun 2nd 6:00 PM Short Deck No-Limit Hold’em $10,000
Mon, Jun 3rd 11:00 AM $600 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack $600
Mon, Jun 3rd 3:00 PM $1,500 Dealer's Choice $1,500
Mon, Jun 3rd 6:00 PM $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em $5,000
Tue, Jun 4th 10:00 AM $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Super Turbo Bounty $1,000
Tue, Jun 4th 3:00 PM $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw $1,500
Wed, Jun 5th 11:00 AM $1,500 HORSE $1,500
Wed, Jun 5th 3:00 PM Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em $10,000
Wed, Jun 5th 4:00 PM $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed $1,500
Thu, Jun 6th 11:00 AM $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout $1,500
Thu, Jun 6th 3:00 PM Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better $10,000
Fri, Jun 7th 10:00 AM Millionaire Maker - Flight A $1,500
Fri, Jun 7th 3:00 PM $1,500 Seven-Card Stud $1,500
Sat, Jun 8th 10:00 AM Millionaire Maker - Flight B $1,500
Sat, Jun 8th 3:00 PM No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw $10,000
Sun, Jun 9th 11:00 AM $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Double Stack $1,000
Sun, Jun 9th 3:00 PM $1,500 Eight Game Mix $1,500
Sun, Jun 9th 3:30 PM 6-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha (Online) $600
Mon, Jun 10th 11:00 AM $600 Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack $600
Mon, Jun 10th 12:00 PM $2,620 No-Limit Hold'em Marathon $2,620
Mon, Jun 10th 3:00 PM $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better $1,500
Tue, Jun 11th 11:00 AM No-Limit Hold'em $1,000
Tue, Jun 11th 3:00 PM H.O.R.S.E. $10,000
Wed, Jun 12th 11:00 AM $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha $1,000
Wed, Jun 12th 3:00 PM $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed $3,000
Thu, Jun 13th 10:00 AM Seniors No-Limit Hold'em $1,000
Fri, Jun 14th 10:00 AM $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A $1,000
Fri, Jun 14th 3:00 PM Dealers Choice 6-Handed $10,000
Sat, Jun 15th 10:00 AM $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B $1,000
Sat, Jun 15th 3:00 PM $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout $3,000
Sun, Jun 16th 11:00 AM $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack $800
Sun, Jun 16th 3:30 PM Knock-Out Bounty No-Limit Hold’em (Online) $600
Mon, Jun 17th 10:00 AM $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold'em $1,000
Mon, Jun 17th 12:00 PM $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha $1,500
Mon, Jun 17th 3:00 PM Seven Card Stud $10,000
Tue, Jun 18th 11:00 AM $600 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em / Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed $600
Tue, Jun 18th 3:00 PM $2,500 Mixed Big Bet $2,500
Wed, Jun 19th 11:00 AM $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty $1,500
Wed, Jun 19th 3:00 PM High Roller Pot-Limit Omaha $25,000
Wed, Jun 19th 3:30 PM Turbo No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack (Online) $500
Thu, Jun 20th 11:00 AM $1,000/$10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold'em $10,000
Thu, Jun 20th 12:00 PM $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em $2,500
Thu, Jun 20th 3:00 PM Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw $10,000
Fri, Jun 21st 10:00 AM Monster Stack - Flight A $1,500
Fri, Jun 21st 3:00 PM $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better $2,500
Sat, Jun 22nd 10:00 AM Monster Stack - Flight B $1,500
Sat, Jun 22nd 3:00 PM Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed $10,000
Sun, Jun 23rd 11:00 AM $800 No-Limit Hold'em Deepstack 8-Handed $800
Sun, Jun 23rd 3:00 PM $1,500 Razz $1,500
Sun, Jun 23rd 3:30 PM Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em (Online) $1,000
Mon, Jun 24th 10:00 AM $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Super Turbo Bounty $1,500
Mon, Jun 24th 12:00 PM Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em $1,000
Mon, Jun 24th 3:00 PM Poker Players Championship $50,000
Tue, Jun 25th 11:00 AM $600 No-Limit Hold'em DEEPSTACK CHAMPIONSHIP $600
Tue, Jun 25th 3:00 PM $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better $1,500
Wed, Jun 26th 10:00 AM $400 Colossus - Flight A $400
Wed, Jun 26th 3:00 PM Razz Championship $10,000
Thu, Jun 27th 10:00 AM $400 Colossus - Flight B $400
Thu, Jun 27th 3:00 PM $1,500 Omaha Mix $1,500
Fri, Jun 28th 10:00 AM $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A $888
Fri, Jun 28th 3:00 PM Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 $10,000
Fri, Jun 28th 5:00 PM $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B $888
Sat, Jun 29th 10:00 AM $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em - Flight C $888
Sat, Jun 29th 3:00 PM $1,500 Limit Hold'em $1,500
Sun, Jun 30th 10:00 AM $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em - Flight D $888
Sun, Jun 30th 3:00 PM Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 $10,000
Sun, Jun 30th 3:30 PM No-Limit Hold’em Championship (Online) $1,000
Mon, Jul 1st 11:00 AM $1,000 Mini Main Event $1,000
Mon, Jul 1st 3:00 PM $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed $5,000
Tue, Jul 2nd 11:00 AM SALUTE TO WARRIORS - $500 No-Limit Hold'em $500
Tue, Jul 2nd 3:00 PM Limit Hold’em Championship $10,000
Wed, Jul 3rd 12:00 PM $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship - Flight A $10,000
Wed, Jul 3rd 3:30 PM High Roller No-Limit Hold’em (Online) $3,200
Thu, Jul 4th 12:00 PM $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship - Flight B $10,000
Fri, Jul 5th 12:00 PM $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship - Flight C $10,000
Sat, Jul 6th 11:00 AM $1,000 + $111 Little One for One Drop - Flight A $1,111
Sun, Jul 7th 11:00 AM $1,000 + $111 Little One for One Drop - Flight B $1,111
Sun, Jul 7th 3:30 PM 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em (Online) $800
Mon, Jul 8th 11:00 AM $1,000 + $111 Little One for One Drop - Flight C $1,111
Mon, Jul 8th 3:00 PM $3,000 Limit Hold'em 6-Handed $3,000
Mon, Jul 8th 6:00 PM $50,000 Final Fifty No-Limit Hold'em $50,000
Tue, Jul 9th 11:00 AM $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty $1,500
Tue, Jul 9th 3:00 PM $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em $3,000
Wed, Jul 10th 11:00 AM $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold'em Pot-Limit Omaha $1,500
Wed, Jul 10th 3:00 PM $1,500 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold'em $1,500
Thu, Jul 11th 11:00 AM $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Double Stack $1,500
Thu, Jul 11th 3:00 PM High Roller No-Limit Hold’em $100,000
Fri, Jul 12th 11:00 AM The Closer - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em - Flight A $1,500
Fri, Jul 12th 3:00 PM $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 6-Handed $3,000
Sat, Jul 13th 11:00 AM The Closer - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em - Flight B $1,500
Sat, Jul 13th 3:00 PM 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em $10,000
Sun, Jul 14th 11:00 AM The Closer - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em - Flight C $1,500
Sun, Jul 14th 3:00 PM $3,000 HORSE $3,000
Sun, Jul 14th 3:30 PM Summer Saver No-Limit Hold’em (Online) $500
Mon, Jul 15th 12:00 PM $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em $5,000

Notable changes at 2019 WSOP

Every edition of the WSOP features a few tweaks to the program, and this year’s series is no different. The first change is more like an expansion from the 2018 series.

The big blind ante for all no-limit hold’em events

Namely, every no-limit hold’em event will now be conducted using the big blind ante format. For those who are unaware, the big blind ante format involves consolidating the antes into a single payment each hand.

Usually, the responsibility for paying the ante falls to the big blind (hence the name) or the button. While it stinks for that player, big blind ante saves the time of collecting singular antes from every player and increases the number of hands dealt per blind level.

Starting stack amounts are increasing

The other change is more of a stylistic one. For many years, chipstacks at the WSOP were issued in a 1:1 ratio with the buy-in amount for the tournament.

However, that ratio can compress players unnecessarily as the blinds escalate. So, in recent times, WSOP has been adding multiples to starting chipstacks to balance out the gameplay.

This year, tournament officials are increasing the chipstacks for several events even further. Consult the table below to see which tournaments will be affected by these changes.

Buy-in 2018 Starting Stack Size 2019 Starting Stack Size
$150 10000 10000
$200 15000 15000
$250 20000 20000
$400 25000 25000/40000
$500 5000 25000
$600 N/A 30000
$800 N/A 40000
$888 8000 40000
$1000 5000 20000/40000/60000
$1,500 7500 25000
$2,500 12500 15000
$2,620 Same 26200
$3,000 15000 20000
$5,000 25000 30000
$10,000 50000 60000
$25,000 125000 150000
$50,000 250000 300000
$100,000 500000 600000

How to watch the WSOP Main Event and other WSOP events

Finding coverage for the WSOP used to be quite a challenge. However, those days seem to be gone.

For the third consecutive year, the WSOP Main Event and other WSOP events will be viewable through one of two sources: ESPN and PokerGO. PokerGO is the broadcast arm of Poker Central, which shares the broadcast rights with ESPN.

ESPN

Obviously, ESPN is the preeminent sports outlet in the US. The company hosts multiple channels of content on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

So, ESPN will have some amount of coverage for every day of main event play. The network is even going to cover all three opening flights and both Day 2s of the event.

As the tournament progresses, ESPN will increasingly devote time to coverage. If there’s any poker tournament people watch, it’s this one.

However, just as a caveat, most of the coverage will occur later in the evening. Here’s the schedule:

Date Time Network Event
July 3, 2019 8:30 PM - 2:00 AM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 1A
July 4, 2019 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 1B
July 5, 2019 8:00 PM - 12:30 AM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 1C
July 6, 2019 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 2AB
July 7, 2019 2:30 PM - 6:00 PM ET ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 2C
July 8, 2019 10:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 3
July 9, 2019 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 4
July 10, 2019 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 5
July 11, 2019 12:30 AM - 2:00 AM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 6
July 12, 2019 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM ET ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 7
July 12, 2019 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 7 (Play to Final Table)
July 14, 2019 10:00 PM – TBD ET ESPN2 WSOP Main Event Day 8 (Nine to Six Players)
July 15, 2019 10:00 PM – TBD ET ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 9 (Six to Three Players)
July 16, 2019 9:00 PM – TBD ET ESPN WSOP Main Event Day 10 (Three Players to Winner)

ESPN has also provided coverage for some of the other events in the series. However, it is unknown which tournaments may appear on the “worldwide leader” at this point.

PokerGO

PokerGO will provide coverage that is supplementary to ESPN’s coverage. Most of the play and feeds that ESPN would not air will fall to PokerGO.

That’s not a bad thing, though. PokerGO will cover hours on both sides of ESPN’s coverage, providing a fuller experience.

In addition, PokerGO will cover events that ESPN is not going to broadcast. So, in a way, PokerGO is the destination for the hardcore fans — the types who want to see the seven-card stud events or the mixed game tournaments.

Great moments from the past

Both ESPN and PokerGO have managed to capture some great moments of poker in the past. Here are some of the greatest hits in WSOP history.

Worst bad beat in the history of the series?

This one’s pretty bad too, though.

Winning the Main Event isn’t just about getting the right cards.

2019 WSOP notable live events

Event No. 3: The Big 50

One of the more significant tournaments in the entire series is one of the very first events. The Big 50 is a $500 no-limit hold’em tournament that will begin its first flight on May 30.

The Big 50, as its name implies, is a new event to celebrate the WSOP’s golden anniversary. Fittingly, there will be plenty of gold showering from the ceiling in this tournament.

In fact, WSOP officials have guaranteed a $5 million prizepool for this event. They have also seen to it that the winner of the Big 50 will receive (at least) $1 million. The first purchase into this tournament is also rake-free.

Rarely must a tournament field more than 1,000 players to avoid an overlay. The combination of relatively low buy-in and high guarantee makes the Big 50 one of the best value tournaments in this year’s series.

Event No. 19: Millionaire Maker

The Millionaire Maker began life in 2013 as an audacious experiment. Tournament officials wanted to see if a $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament could fulfill the prizepool requirements necessary to award $1 million to the winner of the tournament.

What followed was a remarkable series of superlatives. The first Millionaire Maker accepted 6,343 entrants, which was (at that point) the largest non-main event field in history.

The huge field resulted in a first prize nearly $200,000 more than the guaranteed payout. At the time, the 2013 event also paid out more people than any non-main event and resulted in more hands of poker dealt in a single day than any day in history.

Since that auspicious beginning, the Millionaire Maker has become a permanent fixture in the WSOP constellation. The fields for the event, though now paling in comparison to some lower buy-in tournaments like Giant or Colossus, have never been below 7,100 runners.

Last year, German player Arne Kern outlasted 7,360 other competitors to take the top prize. For his efforts, Kern received $1,173,223 and his first WSOP bracelet.

This year’s event, which begins on June 7, should be comparably big to its historical brethren. The “Milly Maker” is one of the best opportunities to win life-changing money.

Event No. 75: Little One for One Drop

The Little One for One Drop is the WSOP’s annual charity tournament. It is a no-limit hold’em event with a $1,111 buy-in.

WSOP donates $111 from each buy-in to One Drop. One Drop is an organization that seeks to provide clean drinking water and sanitary services to impoverished areas of the world.

One Drop came to life in 2007 as a project of Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberte. Laliberte is also a high-level poker player in his own right, so it made sense that he turned to the poker world as a fruitful source of donations.

One Drop also enjoys donations from a larger version of this tournament. The Big One for One Drop occurs every two years, carries a $1 million buy-in, and is the only WSOP event to award a platinum bracelet.

Though it is an off-year for the Big One, players can still give back to the world in the Little One for One Drop. The 2019 Little One for One Drop begins on July 6. There will be three opening flights for this tournament, so there’s no reason to miss out.

2019 WSOP online events

As a sign of the times, there are now several official WSOP events that proceed entirely online. These tournaments are within the canon of the WSOP, and their winners receive gold bracelets like winners of any other series event.WSOP - 2019 Online Bracelet

This year, there are nine online events at the WSOP. Players from Nevada will be able to compete for WSOP hardware from the comfort of their homes.

New Jersey players will also be able to play at least some of the online events, too. According to Pokerfuse, WSOP management has confirmed that New Jersey players can participate in the events that occur ahead of the Department of Justice’s June 14 enforcement deadline.

The great thing about these events is how affordable they are, in comparison to the rest of the WSOP events. Six of the nine feature buy-ins less than $1,000.

The nine events are:

Tournament Name Date Time (ET) Buy-in
No-Limit Hold’em June 2, 2019 6:30 PM $400
6-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha June 9, 2019 6:30 PM $600
Knock-Out Bounty No-Limit Hold'em June 16, 2019 6:30 PM $600
Turbo No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack June 19, 2019 6:30 PM $500
Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em June 23, 2019 6:30 PM $1,000
No-Limit Hold’em Championship June 30, 2019 6:30 PM $1,000
High Roller No-Limit Hold’em July 3, 2019 6:30 PM $3,200
6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em July 7, 2019 6:30 PM $800
Summer Saver No-Limit Hold’em July 14, 2019 6:30 PM $500

A few of those tournaments stick out as especially noteworthy:

Event No. 38: WSOP.com Online Knock Out Bounty No-Limit Hold’em

This event is one of the aforementioned bargain tournaments. Players can compete for a gold bracelet for a mere $600.

The prizepool for this tournament is even lower than one might expect. Thanks to the bounty structure, every player who knocks out another will win $100 instantly.

So, it is possible that a player could receive a return on investment without making money. However, the prizepool is only comprised of the remaining $500 of entry less the vig.

Event No. 38 is a one-day tournament. It will run on June 16.

Event No. 68: WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em Championship

This online, no-limit hold ’em championship is one of the more expensive tourneys WSOP offers. For $1,000, a player can throw his or her hat in the ring to win a gold bracelet.

This tournament is not a turbo event. In fact, it features long (for online games) levels of 20 minutes each.

There are no rebuys to this match, but players can re-enter up to three times. It is a one-day event and will run on June 30.

Last year, Chicago poker pro Ryan Tosoc came in first for this tournament by defeating 1,634 other players. In doing so, he captured nearly $239,000.

There were 180 players from the 1,635-person field that made money, receiving a minimum prize of $2,175. So, it is quite possible to make an excellent score in this tournament.

Event No. 74: WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em High Roller

The high-roller tournament, unsurprisingly, is the most expensive tournament WSOP will host online. Players must plunk down $3,200 if they’d like to play.

Like the championship event, players will have 20 minutes per level to evaluate their decisions. The event is a one-day affair and will occur on July 3.

Last year, Chance Kornuth, of Colorado, won the event. In doing so, he became only the second man to have bracelets both live and online.

Kornuth won $341,599 for his efforts last year. He defeated 479 other players en route to victory.

So, for those who have the means, this high roller event can be quite an appealing opportunity.

Questions about NJ players’ ability to participate

Part of the turnout for these events is shrouded in doubt, however. The US Department of Justice recently issued an opinion that might cut New Jersey residents out of eligibility.

Basically, the DOJ revised its stance governing the applicability of the 1961 Wire Act. The government agency now says that the language of the act affects all types of online gambling, not just sports betting.

The opinion has generated scads of controversy, not least because the new opinion is a complete and unexpected reversal of the DOJ’s opinion from 2011. At present, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission is in the process of suing the DOJ for injunctive relief from the opinion.

Unfortunately, the new opinion would seem to render the multistate online poker compact illegal. So, whether New Jersey residents and visitors can take part in the online events is up in the air.

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Event No. 73: The WSOP Main Event

Instant fame

There is no poker tournament on the planet more famous or prestigious than the World Series of Poker Main Event. The winner of this event is traditionally styled as poker’s world champion during the year that follows.

In many ways, winning the main event is one of those bona fides of great players. Many top pros have won this event and those who haven’t remain steadfast in their quest.

That’s not to say that one must win the main event to be a top poker player. Neither Phil Ivey nor Daniel Negreanu has had their hands raised at the end of this tournament yet.

Still, the main event often catapults poker players into the spotlight forever. For some, a week of good poker can change their lives forever.

Instant fortune

The money’s great, too. The main event was the first major tournament to offer a million-dollar prize for first place. The seven-digit award became a mainstay of the tournament in 1991 when Brad Daugherty became the first man to secure the score.

From 1991 to 2003, the prize amounts increased slowly. However, in 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the event and sparked a period known as the poker boom.

Poker grew far more prominent than it ever had been before. Accordingly, with so many new people playing, the prizes for the main event grew by leaps and bounds.

At the 2006 peak, the tournament awarded Jamie Gold $12 million for his first-place finish. Since then, however, the prizes began to flatten and decline. Playership went down a bit, and tournament officials slowly adopted a wider distribution of funds.

As a result, the champion no longer receives quite the lion’s share of the prizepool. Current champion John Cynn took home only $8.8 million for his efforts. On the flip side, however, every person who makes the nine-man final table is now guaranteed to take home a million-dollar prize.

2018 main event recap

Last year’s main event crowned 33-year-old Illinois poker player John Cynn as the 2018 world champion. Cynn outlasted 7,873 other players to claim poker’s most coveted prize.

WSOP 2018 Winner - John Cynn
John Cynn won the 2018 Main Event and is the current world champion.

He took first place after an almost-interminable, heads-up session with runner-up Tony Miles. The two dueled for more than 10 hours and played nearly 200 hands against each other before Cynn prevailed.

For his perseverance, Cynn received the $8.8 million first prize and the trademark gold bracelet. Miles had to console himself with a $7 million prize.

In fact, all nine of the 2018 main event’s final table received payouts of $1 million or more. The massive payouts were available due to both the immense field and a flattening of the payout structure by tournament officials.

As it is, the 7,874-player field is the second-largest ever to gather for the main event. The huge tournament served as a signal that poker still has quite a healthy following, both at home and abroad.

A look ahead at the 2019 Main Event

In the early days of the Main Event, when the fields were in the single digits, predicting a winner was a far easier proposition. Nowadays, it’s little more than a crapshoot.

The last poker superstar to win the event is Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. Even Chris Moneymaker was an unknown until his win and his memorable name catapulted him into the limelight.

However, based upon their recent accomplishments and their prior performances at the WSOP, there are four players that may be poised for a deep run.

Justin Bonomo

It may seem a bit knee-jerk to include the all-time money leader on a list of possible contenders. It’s not much of a prediction to say that “ZeeJustin” is a contender to go deep in the WSOP Main Event. He already has three bracelets and one circuit ring to his name.

However, Justin Bonomo has been on fire since 2019 began. He has two first-place finishes and two more final table appearances this year. All four of these cashes have been in tournaments with buy-ins above $25,000, so there’s no doubt that Bonomo is playing excellent poker at the highest level right now.

David Peters

David Peters is one of those people who is always in the mix. He might be setting up to break through this year.

Peters has hit paydirt in nine big tournaments so far in 2019. According to the Hendon Mob, he has increased his all-time winnings total by over $6.2 million in just four months of play.

He also has a bracelet and a circuit ring at home. The way he’s playing, he probably needs to clear some more drawer space soon.

Stephen Chidwick

British player Stephen Chidwick has been on quite the roll since the first of the year. He has placed highly in eight major tournaments so far, with no finishes lower than 8th.

He more or less made the US Poker Open his personal tournament in the process, winning twice and making the final table two other times. He has added nearly $5 million to his lifetime earnings in the four months of 2019 alone.

Chidwick also has 52 cashes and over $2.2 million in winnings from WSOP events. This year may be the one where he starts collecting bracelets, too.

Bryn Kenney

Bryn Kenney has been in the mix for quite a while now. However, it seems like everything is coming together for him this year.

He’s coming off a win at the 2019 Aussie Millions Main Event, a win at the US Poker Open, and three other top ten finishes in major tournaments. Like Stephen Chidwick, he has increased his overall winnings by close to $5 million in four short months.

Kenney is also a bracelet winner, having won the 2014 $1,500 10-Game Mix 6-Handed event. With over $2.7 million in lifetime WSOP cashes, Kenney is always a threat to go deep if he can build an early stack.

The Main Event winners at a glance

WSOP Champs - Jamie Gold and Johnny Chan
Jamie Gold (left) and Johnny Chan – two world champions

Forty-three men have won the WSOP Main Event in its 50-year history. No women have prevailed, so far.

Obviously, Americans have dominated the ranks of champions. However, the list of world champions includes members from 12 different countries.

Here is the list:

Year Champion Prize # of Players in Field
2018 John Cynn $8,800,000 7,874
2017 Scott Blumstein $8,150,000 7,221
2016 Qui Nguyen $8,005,310 6,737
2015 Joe McKeehen $7,683,346 6,420
2014 Martin Jacobson $10,000,000 6,683
2013 Ryan Riess $8,359,531 6,352
2012 Greg Merson $8,531,853 6,598
2011 Pius Heinz $8,715,638 6,865
2010 Jonathan Duhamel $8,944,138 7,319
2009 Joe Cada $8,574,649 6,494
2008 Peter Eastgate $9,152,416 6,844
2007 Jerry Yang $8,250,000 6,358
2006 Jamie Gold $12,000,000 8,773
2005 Joe Hachem $7,500,000 5,619
2004 Greg Raymer $5,000,000 2,576
2003 Chris Moneymaker $2,500,000 839
2002 Robert Varkonyi $2,000,000 631
2001 Carlos Mortensen $1,500,000 613
2000 Chris Ferguson $1,500,000 512
1999 Noel Furlong $1,000,000 393
1998 Scotty Nguyen $1,000,000 350
1997 Stu Ungar $1,000,000 312
1996 Huck Seed $1,000,000 295
1995 Dan Harrington $1,000,000 273
1994 Russ Hamilton $1,000,000 268
1993 Jim Bechtel $1,000,000 220
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi $1,000,000 201
1991 Brad Daugherty $1,000,000 215
1990 Mansour Matloubi $895,000 194
1989 Phil Hellmuth $755,000 178
1988 Johnny Chan $700,000 167
1987 Johnny Chan $625,000 152
1986 Berry Johnston $570,000 141
1985 Bill Smith $700,000 140
1984 Jack Keller $660,000 132
1983 Tom McEvoy $540,000 108
1982 Jack Straus $520,000 104
1981 Stu Ungar $375,000 75
1980 Stu Ungar $385,000 73
1979 Hal Fowler $270,000 54
1978 Bobby Baldwin $210,000 42
1977 Doyle Brunson $340,000 34
1976 Doyle Brunson $220,000 22
1975 Brian Roberts $210,000 21
1974 Johnny Moss $160,000 16
1973 Walter Pearson $130,000 13
1972 Thomas Preston $80,000 8
1971 Johnny Moss $30,000 6
1970 Johnny Moss n/a 7

Quick facts about the WSOP Main Event champions

  • Only four men have ever repeated as world champion.
  • Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar are the only men to have won more than twice.
  • Only Stu Ungar has won three times in the freezeout format.
  • The last player to repeat was Stu Ungar in 1997.
  • The last consecutive winner was Johnny Chan in 1988.
  • Sixteen of the 43 winners have been elected to the Poker Hall of Fame.
  • The 2009 champion Joe Cada was only 21 years old when he won, making him the youngest to win the main event.

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Other big money WSOP events

The WSOP is not just about the main event, however. Aside from the main event, 20 other events come with buy-ins greater than or equal to $10,000.

Most of these events are the championships for a particular game in poker. However, there are a few tournaments in this group that are particularly notable.

Event No. 5: 50th Annual High Roller No-Limit Hold’em

The 50th Annual High Roller No-Limit Hold’em event is a $50,000 buy-in tournament. In fact, its name is a tad misleading because the event itself has not run 50 times; the WSOP itself has.

In fact, this tournament celebrated its inaugural year in 2018. Confusing name aside, this event is certainly worth a high-limit player’s attention.

This year’s version of the $50k buy-in event actually has some tweaks from last year’s incarnation. For one thing, the overall time allotted for the tournament has doubled.

This event is now a four-day extravaganza. Blind levels have expanded from 40 minutes to one hour each.

Players will also begin with 300,000 in tournament chips, up from the 250k they received last year. There is also one extra level of late registration.

However, not everything has changed. There is still only a single flight and a single re-entry allowed in this event. The big blind ante system, which was new last year, returns.

Obviously, tournament officials are hoping that these tweaks will generate more interest and a more robust tournament field. Last year’s event drew 128 runners and paid out $1,650,773 to the first-place finisher, Ben Yu.

Event No. 15: Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship

The Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship is something of a rarity. It is certainly a big money event with a buy-in of $10,000.

However, it seems to be an event more heavily steeped in bragging rights than most. The notion of facing off one on one with another player opens up the possibilities for accentuating the interpersonal aspects of poker.

Last year, all-time money leader Justin Bonomo won this event. In doing so, he captured his second WSOP bracelet.

The payout for first place was a comparatively meager $185,965, which is small potatoes compared to other events with similar buy-ins. The tournament itself has a 512-player hard cap, anyway, so it’s impossible to push the prizepool into the stratosphere.

However, the notion of winning a series of duels has plenty of appeal. There’s no doubt that Bonomo felt like quite the gunslinger after the tournament ended.

Of course, he won $10,000,000 a month later in the Big One for One Drop, so he’s probably not too worried about the paucity of the heads-up prize.

Event No. 58: Poker Players Championship (6-Handed)

The WSOP has become quite accessible for many aspiring poker players. The lowering of buy-in amounts meant that those seeking a gold bracelet were no longer just the gods of the felt.

So, in a way, the Poker Players Championship (6-Handed) is a rebuttal to that movement. The tournament, which begins on June 24, comes with a $50,000 price tag for its buy-in.

To screen out the riffraff further, the Poker Players Championship is also a mixed game event. The following games will be in the rotation at this year’s event:

  • Limit hold’em
  • Omaha hi-lo 8 or better
  • Seven card stud
  • Razz
  • Seven card stud hi-lo 8 or better
  • No-limit hold’em
  • Pot-limit Omaha
  • Limit 2-7 lowball triple draw

Only the most dedicated players will feel confident enough to attempt play in all of these variations. So, the combination of bankroll requirement and game selection means that this tournament will be filled with some of the best players in the world.

On the other hand, this tournament may actually be the new event to classify the world’s best. After all, the world champion should demonstrate mastery in many different forms of poker.

Nevertheless, it’s a six-day event with plenty of poker for those involved.

Other activities at the WSOP

One of the misconceptions about the WSOP is that it consists only of the events on the schedule. Nothing could be further from the truth; the WSOP is a 24-hour-a-day bonanza of poker.

Within the main tournament hall, there are always several cash games happening. Even players with the skinniest of bankrolls can get a taste of the WSOP excitement if they choose.

There are also two other types of tournaments that are ongoing at the WSOP. The first of these are side-event tournaments.

Side events

Side-event tournaments are single-day tournaments that run every single day of the WSOP. There are at least four side-event tournaments that will occur daily.

These tournaments are deepstack events, so they offer plenty of chips for play. They are:

  • 1 p.m. – $250 No-Limit Hold’em
  • 4 p.m. – $200 No-Limit Hold’em
  • 7 p.m. – $400 No-Limit Hold’em*
  • 10 p.m. – $150 No-Limit Hold’em*

*These tournaments will have an accelerated format.

There are also side events that cater to specific types of players. For instance, on Sundays at 5 p.m., there will be $250 Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments.

On Wednesdays, there will be another set of no-limit hold’em tournaments at 9 a.m. However, these tournaments are reserved for senior players who are 50 years of age or older.

Mega satellites

Even though bracelet events are more affordable than ever now, they are still a significant investment of money. So, WSOP will run mega satellites several times a day that will award tournament seats to the winners.

Satellites are a perfect way to experience the WSOP on a budget. With just a bit of skillful play, a player can find him or herself in a bracelet event at a significant discount.

Here is the schedule for all the mega satellites this year:

Mega Satellite Name Date Time Buy-in Payout
The WSOP Big 50 Mega Satellites May 28 - 31 Noon $70 $500 entry + $40 cash per 10 entries
The WSOP Big 50 Mega Satellites May 28 - 31 4 p.m. $140 $500 entry + $30 cash per 5 entries
Turbo No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites May 29 - July 13 9 a.m. $185 $1,500 entry + $100 cash per 10 entries
Specialty Mega Satellites May 28 - July 13 8 p.m. $575 $5,000 entry + $50 cash per 10 entries
Specialty Mega Satellites May 28 - July 13 8 p.m. $1,100 $10,000 entry + $100 cash per 10.1 entries
$50K High Roller No-Limit Mega Satellites May 29 - 30 noon $625 Seat in 6 p.m. $5,300 Mega Satellite
$50K High Roller No-Limit Mega Satellites May 29 - 30 6 p.m. $5,300 Seat in $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em
$25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller Mega Satellites June 17 - 18 Noon $325 $2,700 entry + $100 cash per 10 entries
$25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller Mega Satellites June 17 - 18 6 p.m. $2,700 $25,000 entry + $100 cash per 10 entries
$50,000 Poker Players Championship (8 Game Mix) Mega Satellites June 22 - 23 Noon $625 Seat in 6 p.m. $5,300 Mega Satellite
$50,000 Poker Players Championship (8 Game Mix) Mega Satellites June 22 - 23 6 p.m. $5,300 Seat in $50,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em
$100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 9 - 10 10 a.m. $125 $850 entry + $100 cash per 10 entries
$100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 9 - 10 2 p.m. $850 $7,500 entry + $200 cash per 10 entries
$100,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 9 - 10 6 p.m. $7,500 $100,000 entry per every ~14 entries
No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 2 - 6 8 a.m. $135 $1,100 entry + $20 cash per 10 entries
No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 2 - 6 2 p.m. $250 $2,175 entry + $20 cash per 10 entries
No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 2 - 6 10 a.m./4 p.m. $575 $10,000 entry + $100 cash per 20 entries
No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 2 - 6 1 p.m. $1,100 $10,000 entry + $100 cash per 10 entries
No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 2 - 6 8 p.m. $2,175 $10,000 entry + $100 cash per 5 entries
Turbo No-Limit Hold'em Mega Satellites July 3 - 7 8 a.m. $1,100 $10,000 entry + $100 cash per 10 entries

Gavin Smith Memorial Poker Tournament

Poker player Gavin Smith passed away suddenly and tragically in January 2019. WSOP has elected to honor his memory on May 28.

The Gavin Smith Memorial Poker Tournament will occur at 6 p.m. on that day. The event will be a $200 buy-in, no-limit hold’em event. Poker fans shouldn’t miss it.

Bracelet winners

In many sports, great players are defined by the number of championships they won. Sports teams tend to celebrate a championship by awarding each person on the team a commemorative ring.

WSOP Champ Phil Hellmuth

In poker, the championship rings are gold WSOP bracelets. The number of bracelets a poker player acquires in his or her career often serves as a shorthand for his or her level of expertise.

By that metric, there can be no doubt that Phil Hellmuth stands atop the poker world. His 15 bracelets are more than any person has ever won, and it’s not particularly close.

Hellmuth has won 50% more hardware than the next three men on the list. Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson — all Hall of Fame poker players — each have 10 bracelets to their name.

In fact, a quick read of the top bracelet collectors reads like a who’s who of poker greats. The rest of the top 10 bracelet winners includes Johnny Moss, Erik Seidel, Men Nguyen, Billy Baxter, Daniel Negreanu and Chris Ferguson.

Here are the top 25 winners of WSOP gold bracelets. Most of the names will be quite familiar.

Player Name # of Bracelets Total WSOP Winnings
Phil Hellmuth 15 $14,557,887
Doyle Brunson 10 $3,038,079
Johnny Chan 10 $4,656,764
Phil Ivey 10 $6,686,892
Johnny Moss 9 $834,422
Erik Seidel 8 $5,420,816
Billy Baxter 7 $1,218,083
Men Nguyen 7 $4,136,064
TJ Cloutier 6 $4,689,660
Chris Ferguson 6 $6,426,668
Layne Flack 6 $2,815,026
Ted Forrest 6 $2,061,592
Jay Heimowitz 6 $1,526,281
Jeff Lisandro 6 $4,338,726
Daniel Negreanu 6 $17,149,667
Daniel Alaei 5 $4,502,145
Gary Berland 5 $220,390
David Chiu 5 $3,674,019
Allen Cunningham 5 $7,865,275
John Hennigan 5 $5,548,209
Berry Johnston 5 $2,116,110
John Juanda 5 $5,714,127
Jason Mercier 5 $5,039,501
Scotty Nguyen 5 $6,000,014
Stu Ungar 5 $2,081,478

WSOP FAQ

How much is the buy-in for WSOP 2019?

Buy-ins in the 2019 WSOP’s 89 events range from $400 to $100,000.

Can anyone enter the World Series of Poker?

Anyone 21 and older may enter any World Series of Poker event.

Who has the most bracelets in poker?

Phil Hellmuth has 15 bracelets, the most bracelets of any poker player.

Who is the best poker player in the world?

There is no objective measure to determine which player is the absolute best player. However, some of the best players in the world include:

  • Daniel Negreanu
  • Phil Ivey
  • Phil Hellmuth
  • Erik Seidel
  • Fedor Holz

However, at any given time, there are 20 to 25 people who could be described as one of the world’s best poker players.

Who won the WSOP?

The winner of the 2018 WSOP Main Event was John Cynn, a 34-year-old poker player from Illinois.

How do you win seats in WSOP?

Seats to WSOP events are available both in live and online satellites. Players can play their way in through one of the mega satellites at the Rio or on WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey.

How much is the World Series of Poker bracelet worth?

World Series of Poker bracelets are custom-designed pieces of jewelry. They typically contain several gemstones to add flair or to represent various aspects of cardplaying.

A rough estimate places the value of each bracelet somewhere between $5,000 and $30,000. However, depending on the design, the accessory could be valued even higher than that.

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