WSOP Main Event Odds and Ends

by , Jul 9, 2008 | 7:54 am

Some updated info about the totality of the WSOP, from media director Nolan Dalla:

· This is the largest World Series of Poker in history. A grand total of 58,720 entries for an identical number of gold bracelet events (55 tournaments) surpassed last year’s number of entries, which was 54,288. These figures represent an 8 percent increase over 2007.

· This was the richest World Series of Poker in history. A grand total of $180,676,248 in prize money awarded in 2008 makes this the richest event in all of sports. Last year’s total prize pool was $159,796,918. These figures represent an increase of 13 percent over 2007. Note: Prize money increased more than the number of entries because there were more events with higher buy-ins and more re-buy events on this year’s schedule.

· In response to the all-time high numbers, WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack issued the following statement: “The results this year demonstrate the increasing global appeal of our events and the universal recognition that winning a World Series of Poker gold bracelet is poker’s ultimate achievement.”

· The official “second day” is split into two flights spread over two consecutive days. Due to the large size of the field, it has become necessary in recent years to play the Day Two sessions in two groups, divided as Days 2-A and 2-B.

· Five days ago, the World Series of Poker Main Event began on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008. Day 2-A was played on July 8th.

· This is the 40th of 47 total days which comprises the vast majority of the 2008 WSOP schedule (not counting WSOP-Europe, which takes place September 19th through October 2nd and the Main Event final table to be played November 9-10).

· Day 2-A started at 12:15 pm PST.

· The number of players who started Day 2-A was 1,251. Day 2-B continues tomorrow with 2,378 players. Tomorrow’s field is considerably larger because far more players chose to play on Days 1-C and 1-D. The combined number of players entered into the 2008 Main Event totaled 6,844.

· This ranks as the second-largest live poker tournament in history. This year’s turnout surpassed 2007 attendance (6,358) by 7.4 percent. Only the 2006 WSOP Main Event was larger than this tournament — with 8,773 entrants.

· This is the second-largest tournament prize pool in history. The total prize pool amounts to $64,333,600. The top 666 finishers will collect prize money.

· At this time, there are at least 118 different nations and territories represented by all players who entered the 2008 Main Event. By contrast, there were 87 different countries present last year.

· The 2008 WSOP Main Event winner will collect $9,119,517 in prize money. The minimum payout this year is $21,230.

· The day’s traditional “Shuffle Up and Deal” honor went to Madeline Ungar, widow of the late great poker legend Stu Ungar. Ten years ago, the three-time world champion passed away in Las Vegas. Madeline Ungar spoke passionately to a hushed crowd about the importance of working to help people who suffer from substance-abuse problems. “I want to thank all of you in poker, who have become my extended family,” Mrs. Ungar said. She talked briefly about The Ungar Foundation, which has the mission of “restoring lives.” The foundation’s website is:

· Tournament play was limited to the 155 tables located inside Amazon Ballroom, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

· ESPN designated two “feature” tables. The table on the main stage included three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Chau Giang. The secondary feature table was located off to the side and included WSOP gold bracelet winner Blair Hinkle and tournament pro Vanessa Rousso.

· All seat assignments and re-draws at the WSOP are completely random. However, ESPN selects “feature” tables each day, which are presumably tables with the greatest public interest. Those two tables are then transferred to the main and secondary stages.

· The average stack at the start of the day (for all Day 2-A players) was 39,208.

· Levels 6 and 7, which took place between 12:15 pm and 4:35 pm, resulted in the greatest concentration of eliminations, thus far in the tournament. Many players arrived severely short-stacked on Day Two. Many moved all-in early and busted out. It’s estimated that about 350 players, or 28 percent of the starters, were eliminated during this period.

· Former WSOP Main Event champions who played on Day 2-A included Scotty Nguyen (1998) and Robert Varkonyi (2002). Both players were eliminated. Seven former champs remain in the 2008 Main Event. They include – Jerry Yang, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Carlos Mortensen, Brad Daugherty, Chris Moneymaker, and Joe Hachem. All will play on Day 2-B.

· 1998 world champion and winner of this year’s $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, Scotty Nguyen, busted out in mid-afternoon. Nguyen’s stack dwindled during the early stages of play on Day Two and he was finally eliminated when his pocket nines were topped by Alexandre Schwab’s pocket kings.

· 2002 world champion Robert Varkonyi busted out a short-time following Nguyen’s elimination. This meant there were no former champions who survived out of the initial Day 1-A and 1-B groups.

· 2008 WSOP “Player of the Year” Erick Lindgren played on this day, but was eliminated.

· Eight-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Erik Seidel was one of the few top pros to make it through to Day Three amongst the day’s star players. He now has H101,200 in chips, which is slightly more than average.

· Seven-time WSOP gold bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Fame inductee Billy Baxter played most of the day. But he busted out late on Day 2-A. Baxter is unquestionably the greatest lowball player in WSOP history, since all seven of his victories are in that variant of poker. Interestingly, Baxter only started playing in the Main Event about ten years ago. He had little interest in participating in No-Limit Hold’em events until the prize money became so big that he could no longer ignore their potential.

· Reigning Ladies World Poker Champion Svetlana Gromenkova was eliminated on this day.

· Emmy Award-winning actor and television star Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) continued play on this day. But he ended up busting during Level 9. At one point, Romano’s group was moved to the ESPN feature table, which guaranteed a large and enthusiastic crowd of supporters rooting for the star. Romano got low on chips at one point and managed to double up after moving all-in with a substandard hand. As Romano was sheepishly scooping the pot, one fan yelled out “everybody loves Raymond,” a cliché which brought laugher from the crowd and a big smile to Romano’s face.

· Steve Davis, the legendary snooker (pool) player from England (now retired from competition), started Day 2-A still in contention. He did not survive day’s end.

· Australian Shane Warne, who is perhaps the most famous cricket player in history, was still alive when Day 2-A began. He made the cut and ended the night with 101,100 – which means he will participate on Day Three.

· Hal Lubarsky, who became the first blind player ever to cash at the WSOP (197th place in the 2007 Main Event), played in this day. He was eliminated.

· Silvio Formica, a.k.a. “The Italian Stallion” continued play on Day 2-A. Formica, now 79-years-old and retired, has a long and colorful history working in the Las Vegas casino industry. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was a supervisor at the Stardust Casino in the midst of the scandal which was recounted in the classic Martin Scorsese film, Casino. He ended up busting out just before the dinner break.

· The number of players remaining out of the initial 1,251 players who continued play on Day 2-A is 466. This means only 37 percent of the field survived. Only 52 percent of the field survived Days 1-A and 1-B. This means only 41 percent of the field remain of those who started this tournament.

· The combined number of survivors who remain alive in the Main Event totals 2,844. This includes Day 2-A survivors (466) plus all players (2,378) who will continue play on Day 2-B.

· The End of Day 2-A chip leader is Brian Schaedlich, from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys one of the most impressive chip advantages in years for any player at this stage of the tournament. Schaedlich ended the say with 801,000 chips. By contrast, his closest rival (second place) has just 397,000 in chips.

· Two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Howard “Tahoe” Andrew was eliminated on this day. Andrew holds the record for the most consecutive years to play in a WSOP event, with 35. He has played at the WSOP every year since 1974.

· Since the WSOP instituted a four-day (or more) format, no End of Day One chip leader has ever won the championship. The highest finisher ever was John Bonetti, who amassed the biggest Day One stack percentage of anyone in history (210,000 in chips, when the starting stacks were 10,000). He ended up at the third-place finisher in 1993. In fact, Bonetti was the chip leader during each of the first three days that year, a feat unmatched by anyone in the 39-year history of the WSOP. Note: Bonetti passed away two weeks ago.

· Other notable poker players who made the End of Day 2-A cut included: Max Greenwood, Patrick Antonius, Vanessa Rousso, Tony Cousineau, Bill Gazes, Jim Pechac, “Captain” Tom Franklin, Toto Leonidas, Alex Kravchenko, Steve Zolotow, Barny Boatman, Lonnie Heimowitz, Hasan Habib, Chris Bjorin, Erik Seidel, Darrell Dicken, Dave Colclough, Phi Nguyen, Thor Hansen, Hoyt Corkins, Ben Roberts, Chau Giang, Tony Hachem, Matt Glantz, Kido Pham, Robert Mizrachi, and Brandon Adams.

· It is estimated that 209 female players participated in the 2008 WSOP Main Event. Note: This estimate is based on a head count of every player in the tournament room taken at the start of each day.

· Former WSOP gold bracelet winners who were eliminated on this day include – Robert Varkonyi, David Grey, Susie Issacs, Barry Shulman, Scotty Nguyen, Perry Friedman, Svetlana Gromenkova, Bill Edler, Jens Voertmann, Andre Boyer, Barry Greenstein, Ted Lawson, Erick Lindgren, Bill Baxter, John Hennigan, and Dan Schmiech.

· Both Day Twos play the exact same length of time. Play ended after five levels of competition, which means after Level 10. Each level is two hours long. Day 1-D concluded at 1:30 am PST. This day ran longer than the first day because of the necessity to race-off $25 denomination chips, which is the most labor-intensive color-up phase of the tournament.

· Day 2-B begins Wednesday, July 9th at 12 noon.

· Day 2-A and 2-B survivors will resume play on Day Three which begins Thursday, July 10th. Play commences at 12 noon.

· When play resumes on Day Three, all surviving players will be consolidated into the Rio at the same time for the first time in the tournament.

· When play resumes on Day Three, Level 11 will begin with blinds set at 800-1,600 and antes at 200.

· The full payout list for the Main Event (all places) is as follows:





























































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