The World Series of Poker Main Event rode a massive final opening day to draw a field of 6,420 players, a number that is down only slightly from the 2014 Main Event.
On Tuesday’s Day 1C, a total of 3,963 players turned out to join in on the fun of poker’s biggest tournament of the year, setting a new record for the biggest single-day starting flight in the Main Event’s history.
The field size represents about a four percent dip from last year’s total of 6,683, a drop that might seem disappointing out of context. But there were a lot of factors pointing to a potentially smaller field, and after the Day 1A and 1B numbers had come in, many were expecting a more dramatic decrease.
This year’s WSOP seemed custom-made to cater to recreational players. Attendance records were broken early in the series by events like the Colossus, and other favorites like the Millionaire Maker and the Mega Stack also drew very well.
With all those events on the schedule, there were some who believed the Main Event might take a small hit. After all, it was likely that some players who might have saved up to play the Main Event may have played one or two of those other events far earlier in the series instead.
That seemed to be bearing out on the first two starting flights. Day 1A was down just slightly from last year’s figure, but Day 1B saw a 20 percent decline, leading some to predict that the tournament might actually dip until 6,000 runners this year.
But players came out in droves on Tuesday to ensure that wouldn’t be the case. And with so many players involved, there is once again an enormous prize pool on the line for the thousands of players still in the hunt for poker’s ultimate title.
The total prize pool is just over $60.3 million, with $7,680,021 reserved for the eventual winner this November.
But this year’s WSOP Main Event features a couple of wrinkles that make this payout structure a little different from your standard event.
First, there’s the fact that 1,000 players will cash, with the minimum cash (going to those who make the money in 649th position or lower) set at $15,000. Also, everyone who makes the November Nine is guaranteed to win at least $1 million, making the final table just a little more special for those who reach it.
After the three Day 1 flights were completed, it was John Gorsuch (who participated in Day 1C) who walked away with the chip lead, bagging 198,100 chips. Gorsuch made a deep run in last year’s Main Event, and he’s definitely in position to repeat the feat at this point.
Of course, with 4,389 players still in the competition heading into the Day 2 flights, there are way too many notables still in the field to name them all. However, a few names do stick out for having finished the first day with very healthy stacks.
2010 Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel bagged over 82,000 on Day 1A, with Mike Matusow, John Monnette and Fabian Quoss also ending that session with plenty of chips. Day 1B saw 2004 Main Event Champion Greg Raymer collect over 92,000 chips, with Brian Hastings, Matt Salsberg, Brian Hastings and Brian Rast also closing in on six-figure stacks.
Finally, Day 1C saw several former Main Event champions move up the standings, including Phill Hellmuth, Joe Hachem and Jamie Gold. Daniel Negreanu, Allen Cunningham and Michael Mizrachi also bagged big stacks heading into Day 2.
Players from Days 1A and 1B will return on Wednesday to play their Day 2 flights, while Day 1C players will come back for their Day 2 on Thursday. The entire field will combine for Day 3 on Friday, after which the field will narrow every day until July 14, when the final table is determined.