Chip shot: World Series of Poker a battle for the money—and the glory
Daniel Negreanu was so close to winning the 2014 World Series of Poker’s Big One for One Drop event, but lost to first-timer Daniel Colman. Negreanu, always the class act, was quick to compliment his opponent, who took home $15.3 million: “What makes him tough is he is very good at playing flops,” Negreanu said in an interview with WSOP.com. “He’s very careful. Think boxer-wise. He had his guard up and threw a lot of little jabs, then when someone would open up, he’d throw the knockout punch.”
That spirit of healthy competition returns this year as thousands compete for a share of more than $227 million in prize money. Nine will make it to the final table. Only one will go home with the World Series of Poker gold bracelet.
This year’s World Series of Poker at Rio features 68 different poker events over 51 consecutive days. Last year, 82,360 people from 110 countries competed. What makes the tournament such a draw is that just about anyone could end up at the final table, competing for a coveted gold bracelet and, of course, prize money. Fans learn the ropes playing in basements, at kitchen tables and even online to hone their skills before dropping $565 to $111,111 to enter.
Three different rooms, with 480 tables total, host the event. It starts with the new five-day Colossus no-limit hold’em with a $565 buy-in and $5 million guaranteed prize pool, one of 11 new tournaments.
Tournaments before the Main Event in July can make players rich. The June 5-6 Millionaire Maker no-limit hold’em, with a $1 million prize for the winner, drew 7,977 contenders last year, and the June 12-13 Monster Stack was the breakout event in 2014, drawing 7,862 players and guaranteeing every player at the final table a six-figure payday. The winner, Hugo Pinray, walked away with $1,327,083.
Of course, all eyes will be on the Main Event starting on July 5. Roughly 7,000 players compete in this 10-day tournament, now in its 46th year, with a $10,000 buy-in and a slate of 30,000 competitors that gets whittled down to nine. Those victors return to vie for the World Series of Poker gold bracelet from Nov. 8-10.
This year, instead of playing for a $10 million first place guarantee, the first 1,000 places receive winnings. In theory, depending on how many people compete, that could mean an $8 million prize to the winner in November and every player at the final table receiving at least $1 million. Players placing between 694 and 1,000 make a cool $15,000.
Watch for players such as Germany’s George Danzer, who was the World Series of Poker Player of the Year in 2014 with 10 cashes, five final tables and three victories, and Negreanu, who won that title multiple times. Celebrities take part, too. Look for Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jennifer Tilly and Shannon Elizabeth.
Rio, times and registration fees vary, through July 14, 21+.