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Statistics released by the 2011 World Series of Poker show that this will probably be a bumper year for the Series despite the depredations of US enforcement authorities against online poker sites. Officials particularly called attention to last Friday, when 5,946 players took to the felt in various events, and to several events where previous registrations have been overtaken.
Look at some of the numbers:
• Event 28 - $1,500 no-limit hold 'em - 2,500 entries
• Event 29 - $2,500 10-game - 431 entries
• Event 30 - $1,000 Seniors - 3,752 entries, making it the largest single-day entry tournament in history.
• Event 31 - $3,000 pot-limit Omaha - 685 entries
• Event 32 - $1,500 no-limit hold 'em - 2,828 entries
• Event 33 - $10,000 seven-card stud high-low split eight-or-better - 168 entries
• Event 34 - $1,000 no-limit hold 'em - 3,144 entries
That's a total of 13,508 entries in just a few days, verifying the official claim that through the first 30 events of 2011, 11 participation records had been broken.
In total, WSOP participation is up 11.7% with 33,173 entries, generating an 8.6% rise in the total prize pool, and plenty of big money events still in the pipeline.
Event 2 had the biggest heads-up tournament prize pool at $3,040,000, whilst event 10 turned out to be the largest six-handed tournament in poker history with 1,920 entries
Event 16 had the biggest deuce-to-seven tournament prize pool at $1,184,400, and in event 30, the senior's competition recorded the biggest entry field in WSOP history at 3,752.
Thus far, this year's Series has produced the largest Omaha high-low split, six-handed, Lowball, pot-limit Omaha, mixed game and Seniors events in poker history, and broke the record for the largest tournaments in history with a single day start three times.
Ty Stewart, the WSOP executive director, summed it up this week, saying: "It has been a record-setting summer thus far in 2011 and we are confident it will continue through the duration of the tournament."
Getting back to the action, event 30: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Championship produced another bracelet when California talent manager James Hess (50) took the tournament at the end of three hectic days that saw a field of 3,752 reduced to only 37 players at the start of the third day.
Playing aggressively through the day and the survivors to a victory at level 30, Hess claimed the chip lead halfway through the final table and managed to maintain it, eliminating five final tablers and then powering through a short heads up with Richard Harwood, a television director and fellow Californian.
A regular WSOP contestant, Hess at age 50 yrs becomes the youngest Senior's player ever to win the event, claiming a bracelet and the main prize of $557,432. Harwood's second placing carried with it a check for $342,407
Event 31: $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha saw an exciting 5am finish in its third day, with Sam Stein emerging as a tired but happy winner of a bracelet and $420,802.
The day had started with 25 survivors from an original field of 685, taking three hours to reach a final table when Tex Barch was busted out, leaving only Brock Parker as a previous bracelet winner in the field, and Ben Lamb holding the lead.
Stein built up sufficient momentum to challenge Ben Lamb in the heads up, having started fifth lowest in chips on the final table but coming into the heads up with a 2 to 1 advantage over Lamb as the contest ground on, raising concerns in some quarters that a fourth day might be required to finalise the event.
However, that was not the case; Sam Stein proved he had the right stuff and the right cards, and claimed the victory, leaving Lamb with a runner up consolation of $259,918.
Event 32: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em entered it's third day Monday with 35 players remaining from an initial field of 2,828 and Dror Michaelo in the lead by a good 200,000 chips. Still in contention at that point were Josh Brikis, Adam Lippert, Kyle Cartwright, Adam Geyer and Daniel Heffner.
Going into the early hours of Tuesday morning Vegas time the field was down to three players at level 29: Kirk Caldwell holding a formidable 4 million chip lead over Ben White (3,670,000), with Marc Mclaughlin bringing up the rear on 1,110,000.
The indications are strong that this event will be decided in the next hour...and Caldwell appears to have an almost unassailable advantage.
Event 33: $10,000 Stud 8 or Better World Championship is shaping up to be a magnet for the railbirds, with Phil Hellmuth in the final three players left in the early hours of Tuesday morning, looking for bracelet number 12 and a new record, but trailing leader Eric Rodawig by a million chips.
Veteran tournament player John Racener is the third survivor, almost a million behind Hellmuth in chips but still dangerous.
Just 18 players entered day three action on Monday, with Rodawig holding a strong lead and Hellmuth seventh in chips in a field that still included talent like David Benyamine, Ali Eslami, Antony Lellouche, Jon Turner, Joe Tehan, Phil Laak, Erik Seidel, Bill Chen and Cyndy Violette, none of whom survived a third day of hard, aggressive poker.
Going into level 27 in the early hours of Tuesday morning this competition is still wide open as the three talented survivors continue to fight for the bracelet and the big money.
Event 34: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em started out on its second day Monday with a field of 323 left from the original list of 3,144 entrants. Due to a stack miscount, officials advised that Chris McClung, and not Lars Bonding, was the chip leader for the first day.
Still in contention as the day started were Lars Bonding, James Carroll, Dwyte Pilgrim, Matt Affleck, Barry Shulman, Chad Batista, and Mike Leah.
By the early morning Tuesday the field was down to 31 players as level 20 approached the mandatory cut-off for the day, with Alex Findlay well ahead of nearest rival Michael Rushton.
Although starting the day as leader, Chris Mcclung was among those recently eliminated.
Event 35: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha / Six Handed launched Monday with a field of 507 generating a prize pool of $2.38 million.
This event has a unique "triple chance" format in which each player starts with 5,000 in tournament chips, but may take an additional two add-ons, each worth 5,000 in chips, at any time during the first four levels.
There was no shortage of talent in the entry field, with Lex Veldhuis, Joshua Tieman, Vanessa Selbst, Barry Greenstein, Humberto Brenes, Matt Jarvis, Andy Black, Ted Lawson, Scott Clements, Sorel Mizzi, T.J. Cloutier, Jeff Lisandro, Andrew Lichtenbgerger, Steve Gross, Frank Kassela, Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand Grospellier, David Williams, Chad Brown, Jason Mercier, Beth Shak and Jonathan Little all spotted taking their seats.
Play for the first day halted at level 10 with Vanessa Selbst in the lead, chased closely by Erick Lindgren and Shaun Deeb, but with 110 players - many of them aces - still in the running. That list includes internet whizz Mike “timex” McDonald, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, Joe Hachem, Brian Rast, Layne Flack, Chance Kornuth, Jeff Lisandro and Jason Mercier.
First day eliminations included Grospellier, Carlos Mortensen, Galen Hall, Sammy Farha, Barry Greenstein, Eric Baldwin, Joe Cada, Robert Williamson, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Scott Seiver, and Daniel Negreanu.
The top 48 finishers will cash in this event, with the winner picking up $619,575.
Source: InfoPowa News