The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event may be the second largest in history but that’s no the only reason its making noise.
Getting underway on July 3, the $10,000 world championship has become this summer’s major talking point.
As ever, the attendance figure has caught everyone’s attention. Continuing the recent rise in numbers, the Big Dance attracted 8,569 runners.
Players Flock to WSOP
That figure was not only 695 players more than in 2018 but the second largest field of all time.
Now, only the 2006 WSOP Main Event, which attracted 8,773 entrants, has seen more players compete for poker’s top title.
While another surge in interest will benefit the game as a whole, other events inside the Rio might not. With the Main Event in full swing, not one but two players were disqualified during the first few days of action.
I hope that you all will understand and believe me if I say that it’s first time in my life that I involved in such a bad story. A lot of people in poker community can confirm that before this accident I’ve never been involved in any suspicious activities.
— BelianinG (@GBelianin) July 7, 2019
First to cross the line was Georgii Belianin. During the opening level of play on Day 1C, the Russian won a small pot and, as he reached out to scoop it, he also put his arms around a neighboring stack.
Although reports say he had a smile on his face, suggesting it may have been a joke, Jack Effel didn’t see it that way. Swooping almost immediately, the WSOP vice president called for security.
With minutes, Belianin was strong-armed out of the tournament area and toward the doors of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.
Main Event Madness
The message that stupidity won’t be tolerated clearly didn’t resonate with Ken Strauss. In a hand against Patrick Eskandar, Strauss decided to bear all after moving all-in (see video below).
As his opponent pondered the call, the American dropped his pants and threw off his shoes. That move not only made national headlines but saw Strauss ejected from the WSOP.
If players causing a stir wasn’t enough, an earthquake completed a cataclysmic start to the Main Event. Measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, the quake literally sent shockwaves through the Rio as players fought for chips on July 6.
Although no one was injured, the earthquake marked another dramatic start to poker’s biggest tournament.