The Main Event of the World Series of Poker breaks the record for the highest number of entrants.

Posted on: July 7, 2023, 12:54h. 

Last updated on: July 7, 2023, 12:54h.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP), the 54th running of the months-long tournament series, has achieved a new entry record for the Main Event.

World Series of Poker Main Event WSOP Horseshoe
The World Series of Poker Main Event’s previous entry record of 8,773 buy-ins has been exceeded at the 2023 tournament. WSOP organizers state that more than 9,300 entries for the Main Event have been accepted, with each player paying the $10,000 fee. (Image: WSOP)

Organizers of the 2023 WSOP announced yesterday that the Main Event, officially known as the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, has surpassed the previous record for the number of entries. The previous record of 8,773 buy-ins set in 2006 when Jamie Gold emerged victorious with a $12 million first-place prize was surpassed yesterday afternoon.

Good afternoon players. I wanted to inform you that a few minutes ago, we officially reached 8,774 players,” Ty Stewart, senior vice president and executive director of the World Series of Poker, told Main Event players. “This is the largest Main Event in history, and the biggest live poker tournament ever.”

Describing it as a “historic day for poker,” Stewart later stated that he hopes the record doesn’t stand for long.

“This is a monumental day not only for the history of the WSOP but for poker itself,” Stewart said. “We’re hoping this record is surpassed soon and we’ll be ready for another massive turnout next summer.”

Horseshoe a Ringer So Far

The 54th edition of the WSOP marked the return of the iconic tournament to the Horseshoe. Benny Binion founded the World Series of Poker in 1970, and the annual no-limit showdown was held at his Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas until 2004.

Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, acquired the WSOP in 2004 and moved the tournament series to the company’s off-Strip Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Following widespread criticism of the Rio’s deteriorating conditions and security, along with Caesars renaming Bally’s Las Vegas as the Horseshoe after selling the Bally’s brand last year, Caesars decided to relocate the WSOP to the Horseshoe for 2023.

The tournament’s return to the Horseshoe brand has been extremely successful thus far. As of Friday afternoon, the WSOP Main Event has received over 9,300 entries for the $10,000 Main Event.

“It’s particularly special to make history in our first year at the new Horseshoe Las Vegas. I think today is a huge testament to the passion of the entire poker community who rally around this event every year,” Stewart added.

Poker is Back

Only a decade ago, some in the gaming community questioned whether poker, especially no-limit Texas hold’em, was losing popularity. The game’s boom began in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker, an accountant by day, won entry into the $10,000 Main Event through online qualification and defeated 838 other participants to claim the $2.5 million first-place prize.

Dubbed the “Moneymaker effect,” the WSOP Main Event saw its field rapidly increase to over 2,500 entries the following year and over 5,600 entries for the 2005 tournament. The field reached 8,773 entries in 2006.

However, entries for the 2007 Main Event dropped below 6,400. The field exceeded 7,000 entries only once between 2007 and 2016.

In 2017, another poker boom occurred, with the field totaling 7,221. The Main Event surpassed 8,500 entries in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

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