The main event of the 2013 World Series of Poker is now in full swing at Rio Las Vegas. It will continue through July 15. The field of 6,352 players is being narrowed down to the nine contestants who will sit at the final table, scheduled at the resort for Nov. 4 – 5. Dubbed the “November Nine,” they will compete for the world championship title, a gold bracelet and a whopping first-place prize of $8,359,531!
Now in its 44th year, the WSOP has broken all sorts of records. Here are some interesting things about the prestigious gaming event and its run this year that you may not know about:
1.) The WSOP is the longest running poker tournament in the world. Started in Las Vegas, it dates back to 1970, when there were fewer than 50 poker tables in the entire city.
2.) This year the event attracted 79,471 entrants from 107 different countries. It’s an all-time high attendance mark, surpassing the previous record of 75,672 participants hit at the 42nd annual WSOP in 2011 by 5 percent.
3.) This year features 62 WSOP gold bracelet events, up one from 2012. Officials added an Open Face Chinese poker event with a $5,000 buy-in among the non-bracelet events. The new “it” game, Open Face Chinese poker is a popular variant of Chinese poker.
4.) This year’s tournament also boasts the second largest total prize pool in WSOP history of $197,041,468.
5.) This was the ninth consecutive year that the WSOP generated a total prize pool well in excess of $100 million.
6.) During its 44-year run, the WSOP has awarded more than $1.8 billion in prize money – $1,839,450,791, to be specific!
7.) Among the famous faces spotted playing alongside poker pros were actors Jason Alexander, James Woods, Kevin Pollak and Robert Iler, actress Jennifer Tilly, comedian Ray Romano, Norwegian snowboard champion Torstein Horgmo, NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo, Olympic skier Petter Northug, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, NBA star Paul Pierce, Mixed Martial Arts champion Georges St. Pierre and cricket legend Shane Warne.
8.) The average age of players at this year’s tournament was 37.6. In the main event, the youngest competitor – at 21 years, 8 days – was Rayan Chamas of Quebec, Canada, while the oldest player was 92-year-old William Wachter of Carmel, N.Y.
9.) The U.S. was the country with the most entries (57,040) in this year’s WSOP. Rounding out the top five in terms of entries were Canada (4,118), the U.K. (2,678), Russia (1,110) and France (1,010).
10.) Woman made up 5.1 percent of participants in this year’s WSOP. Female participation has been calculated at 3,726 entries.