The World Series of Poker achieved a major milestone Sunday, announcing that it had officially crossed the $1 billion mark in prize money awarded over its lifespan. Staring in 1970, the event has grown to the biggest poker competition on the planet, and this year celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Official 2009 tournament figures will be released Tuesday, July 7, after the close of Main Event registration, but running tallies confirm the landmark, said World Series of Poker President and Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.
"It's nice to reach this milestone during the 40th annual WSOP," he commented. "What's most remarkable is that nearly two-thirds of this amount has been awarded in just the last four years. Poker is alive and well and here to stay."
With registration still open for the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Championship - commonly referred to as the Main Event - the 40th annual WSOP already has had a remarkable summer despite the global recession.
For the fourth consecutive year, the total WSOP prize pool will exceed $155 million - compared with a total of $354 million in prize money awarded during the WSOP's first 36 years.
The WSOP is the world's richest competitive event. Comparisons with other prominent events include:
- The Daytona 500 has awarded its winners some $21,327,256 since 1959. In just the past three years, WSOP Main Event champions have received $29,402,416.
- Wimbledon awarded a total of £12,550,000, or roughly $20.5 million, in 2009, less than a quarter of what the WSOP will award this year.
- The Kentucky Derby has paid its winners a total of approximately $16.7 million since 2001 - less than the nearly $17.5 million taken home by the 2007 and 2008 WSOP Main Event champions.
Historical prize pool information for the World Series of Poker:
- 2009 - To be advised Tuesday.
- 2008 - $180,774,427
- 2007 - $159,796,918
- 2006 - $159,599,815
- 1970-2005 - $354,000,000
Source: InfoPowa News