When Phil Hellmuth won the 1989 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event he lit a fuse in the heart of the organization that will burn for decades to come. It’s magic. It’s white magic.
14 gold bracelets…Boom!
52 final tables…Whack!
A sixth place finish in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller, and a 417th place finish in the Main Event. A few flips this way, and a few flips that, and we could have been looking at an even more impressive story: not bad for a cheeseburger salesman.
With the WSOP Main Event now approaching the business end of proceedings, the numbers have been crunched, and the heroic performances of Hellmuth aren’t the only records that were broken this year. Only Pussy Riot music stores in Russia have broken more.
The 68 events attracted 103,512 entries making it the most attended WSOP in history. That means it was 25% higher than the previous record set last year. The main reason for the hike in attendance was the introduction of the $565 COLOSSUS. 22,274 players attended, itself a world record, and it set other records including: biggest single day attendance ever (12,172 players), largest non-Main Event field size ever, most unique entrants ever (15,387), largest first prize for a $500 buy-in ($638,880), most players paid in one event (2,241), largest prize pool for any event under $5,000 ($11,187,000) and the most first-time players in a WSOP event (5,664).
Total entries passed the 100k mark for the first time (103,512), and prize money exceeded $100m for the 11th consecutive year, and $200m for the third consecutive year ($210,379,285). It was the third highest combined prize pool in the tours history. Only the One Drop $1m buy-in events attracted more.
So more people felt the burn that only the WSOP can produce, and more of them left with some pocket money to show for their hard work than ever before. 11,638 players all received some sort of financial reward and that’s more than the number of entries the event had in any of it’s first 33-years.
“2015 was a colossal success thanks to the players and their continued passion for the World Series of Poker and 2016 will be even better,” said World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart. “It’s a new era at the WSOP and we hope it is clear that all poker enthusiasts are welcome here.”
The WSOP also continued to do its bit for good causes with $1,255,530 raised for the One Drop charity. In truth, that number will be significantly higher, as we won’t be privy to player’s personal contributions. For example, Bill Klein donated his entire $2.4m purse for this runner-up spot in the One Drop High Roller to charity, although we are not sure how much of that went to One Drop. Players at the WSOP have raised $13.5m for One Drop since the partnership was formed in 2012, and 135,000 people have been affected in a positive way due to the alliance.
William Wachter also broke a WSOP record. The World War II veteran cashed in 524th place for $19,500 at the ripe old age of 94, making him the oldest person to ever do so. Wachter isn’t the oldest player to compete in the WSOP Main Event though. That honor belongs to the late and great Jack Ury who played at the age of 97.
So where does the WSOP go from here?
Will the COLOSSUS become a mainstay of the WSOP?
Will more people come?
I don’t think this record will be broken for quite some time.
Let’s revel in it while we can.