Not bad, all things considered
After a week of opening and overlapping flights, the picture for the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event has come into focus. A total of 6,650 players paid the $10,000 buy-in, generating a $62,011,250 prize pool for the most prestigious live poker tournament in the world. The top 1,000 finishers will make the money, with the eventual champion winning $8m.
The opening stages of the Main Event were longer than usual, as organizers added two extra Day 1 flights to accommodate players traveling from overseas after the US relaxed travel restrictions. Those two flights saw over 1,900 players register, so they were certainly a boon to the tournament.
first time that late registration was permitted in the WSOP Main Event
Because of the schedule change, Days 2A, 2B, and 2D ran at the same time as Day 1E on Tuesday and Days 2C, 2E, and 2F had the Rio to themselves on Wednesday. This year was also the first time that late registration was permitted in the WSOP Main Event, so we had to wait until the completion of the first two levels yesterday to find out the final attendance.
There was much uncertainty as to what the turnout would be because of the ongoing pandemic and related COVID-19 safety protocols, but a field of 6,650 is solid. It is a far cry from 2019’s 8,569, but is in line with most of the Main Events from 2007 to 2016.
Final table starts next Tuesday
Thursday, November 11 is Day 3 of the Main Event, which naturally sounds odd considering the tournament has been going on for a week. Day 3 is also the first day where all remaining players are together in a unified field. 2,362 of the 6,650 entrants made it through to Thursday.
Days 4-6 are Friday through Sunday. The money bubble is expected to burst early on Day 4, when those still alive will be guaranteed at least $15,000.
On Monday, Day 7, the action will go until the final table is determined. Next Tuesday, the final table will play down to four players and on Wednesday, a champion will be crowned.
PokerGO is live streaming the Main Event every day, including the final table in its entirety. The CBS Sports Network is also contributing some coverage. While this is the first year in decades that ESPN is not broadcasting the World Series of Poker, legendary commentators Norman Chad and Lon McEachern are back behind the mics for CBS Sports’s coverage.
Chris Moneymaker among leaders
While much will change over the course of the next several days, Conrad De Armas can be content that he is the chip leader going into Day 3 with 744,000 chips. Rameez Shahid is close behind with 731,700, the only other player with more than 700,000 chips. After them, a dozen competitors have over 600,000.
One very notable name near the top of the leaderboard is 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker, who enters Thursday’s action with 531,600 chips. Other former champs who still have chips Scott Blumstein, Joe Hachem, Phil Hellmuth, Martin Jacobson, and Qui Nguyen.
And speaking of Phil Hellmuth, the 16-time WSOP bracelet winner made his grand entrance in the Main Event, as he is wont to do. This year, he arrived late to Day 1F (he always gets there late in order to make a scene) dressed as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. And, as he often does, Hellmuth had a posse, joined by 16 models and two elves.