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September 1, 2014

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This year’s World Series of Poker Main Event winner will make $8.5 million

Tournament draws 6,598 players with 666 making the money

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Mona Shield Payne

Hundreds of amateur and professional poker players compete on the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at The Rio.

2012 WSOP Main Event Begins

Zach Hall, of Mt. Airy, Maryland, raises his bet while playing poker on the first day of the World Series of Poker Main Event Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the Rio in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table Payouts

  • 1st — $8,527,982
  • 2nd — $5,292,889
  • 3rd — $3,797,558
  • 4th — $2,850,494
  • 5th — $2,154,616
  • 6th — $1,640,461
  • 7th — $1,257,790
  • 8th — $971,252
  • 9th — $754,798

The halls of the Rio convention center proved treacherous to navigate through when players in the World Series of Poker Main Event went on break Monday.

Although it’s foolish to expect anything less than a flood of humanity during early July at the WSOP, Day 1C of the Main Event was a different beast altogether. The final starting flight of this year’s world championship of poker attracted 3,418 entrants, the biggest single-day field in the history of the tournament.

“The last day is always the biggest,” WSOP Spokesman Seth Palanksy said. “We knew we were going to have a big number today. Sure enough, in the last 16 hours of registration, we had 2,000 people show up.”

Combined with the first two starting days, registration for the 2012 WSOP Main Event totaled 6,598 players. It’s the fifth biggest Main Event in the tournament’s history, but a slight decrease from the 6,865 who turned out to compete for the championship bracelet a year ago.

Officials weren’t concerned with seeing a downturn for the second consecutive year.

“We’re really thrilled,” Palansky said. “We had a slow start to the summer, but when it’s all said and done, we had a great number for the Main Event that was right at our five-year average.”

The tally across the 61 bracelet events offered at the WSOP this summer added up to 74,766 entrants — second behind only last year’s series for the most-attended ever. The $222,035,192 prize pool set a new record.

The Main Event’s prize pool came out to $62,021,200. The eventual winner will earn $8,527,982, which will place him or her in the top 25 on the all-time tournament money list.

In full, 666 players will make the money at the Main Event. Seven of the nine players who reconvene in October to crown a champion will become instant millionaires.

“We’re still in poker’s golden age, at least when WSOP bracelets are on the line,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said. “We can’t thank the players enough for their continued support of the WSOP and for once again putting a bad beat on market conditions.”

Poker pros estimated as few as 5,500 players competing in the Main Event at the beginning of the summer. Participation in card tournaments across the globe had declined in 2012, according to Palansky, and the WSOP felt the downturn during the first few weeks this summer.

But everything started to pick up from there, ultimately culminating with another successful Main Event.

“People underestimate this event,” Palansky said. “This is the one people save for and plan on playing every year. The fact of the matter is if you’re a poker player, this is the tournament you have to play.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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