WSOP Main Event Third Largest Ever but Top Prize Falls Outside the Top 10

July 12th, 2017 | by Kaycee James

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event has drawn in the crowds this year and become one of the richest tournaments in history.

WSOP Main Event 2017.

The 2017 Main Event attracts the third largest field ever, but the winner will only take home the 16th largest WSOP prize of all time.

One of the biggest stories of the 2017 WSOP has been record turnouts in a number of side events (including the Millionaire Maker) and this translated into the third largest Main Event in history.

When the books closed on Day 1C, the final count showed 7,221 players had ante-up $10,000 to take part in poker’s most popular tournament.

2017 Moves into the Top Three

Putting that figure into perspective, this year’s total is over 300 more players than the 6,865 that played in 2011 and only just short of the 7,319 entrants who spent $10,000 in 2010.

Although the 2017 WSOP Main Event is still someway short of the mammoth 2006 tournament that saw Jamie Gold best 8,772 other runners, it’s a sure sign that the poker is on the up.

When Black Friday struck in 2011 and the DOJ shutdown PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker, the industry as a whole was rocked. With US players facing an internet blackout, participation levels both online and live quickly dropped.

Indeed, the summer after Black Friday, the number of entrants in the Main Event dipped to 6,598 before it dropped again in 2013 (6,352). But since that fall, things have gradually improved.

Thanks to the addition of smaller stakes events and a new payout structure in the Main Event, more players are attended the WSOP than ever before.

Although the 2006 Main Event laid down a huge marker, the current upswing doesn’t show any signs of slowing down and that could mean a Main Event record by the close of the decade.

Numbers Up but Top Prize Down

On top of becoming the third best attended Main Event in history, this year’s prizepool is also the third largest of any live tournament. The $67,877,400 in prize money means the 2017 winner will bank $8,150,000.

However, this will only make them the 16th biggest WSOP winner in history.

Despite the tournament attracting more players than almost any other tournament ever held, the WSOP introduced a new payout structure in 2015. That year, the organizers pledged to pay 1,000 players and this year 1,084 players will earn at least $15,000.

Because of the increased number of prizes, the winner’s haul has been reduced. However, the tradeoff has been an upturn in participation which, in a general sense, is better for poker as a whole.


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