42nd Annual World Series of Poker® Sets All-Time Records

Last Updated on

WSOPTotal Prize Money and Participation Establish New High Marks

Total Participation Finishes Over 75,000 Entrants for First-Time Ever

The 42nd annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) Presented by Jack Links Beef Jerky at the Rio-All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas established a host of new records as poker enthusiasts from more than 100 nations traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the game’s grandest spectacle.  The WSOP remained the industry standard-bearer, with a record 75,672 entries in 58 events creating the largest prize pool in WSOP history: $191,999,010.

The new all-time high in entrants surpassed by 3.7 percent the previous record of 72,966 set last year; this year’s record prize pool eclipsed the previous high of $187,109,850 set in 2010 by 2.6 percent.

For the seventh consecutive year, the WSOP generated a total prize pool well in excess of $100 million.

In the 42-year history of the WSOP, the prestigious tournament has now awarded more than $1.4 billion in prize money.  (Actual figure is: $1,420,374,131)

Legions of amateur players competed alongside legendary poker pros, Hollywood A-listers and international sports figures to establish the new milestones.  Among the notable non-poker playing names competing during this year’s WSOP included Jason Alexander, Nelly, Ray Romano, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennifer Tilly, Shane Warne, Paul Pierce, Shawn Marion, Petter Northug, David Lee, Phil Kessel, Jeff Fenech, Patrick Bruel and Brad Garrett.

The youngest player in this year’s WSOP was Logan Deen, from Cocoa, Florida who played Day 1-B of the Main Event, the day of his 21st birthday – and he did survive the day. The oldest player to participate in this year’s WSOP was 91-year-old Ellen Deeb, who played Day 1-C of the Main Event, but unfortunately Ellen didn’t make it through. It didn’t stop her from pulling out $10,000 cash from her purse to try and re-enter the tournament (not allowed), but she’ll have to wait to 2012 to play again.

“This summer underscores the appeal of the game and the power of this event.  We’re so thankful for all those who came from around the world to demonstrate that poker continues to grow,” said World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart. “All across the board at the 2011 WSOP, from our signature gold bracelet events to cash games to satellites and daily tournaments, records were made to be broken.”

Many within the poker community speculated that participation in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship – commonly referred to as the Main Event – would suffer this year, however it remained right in line with where it has averaged the last five years (6,753).

The 2011 WSOP Main Event attracted its third-largest field ever, with 6,865 participants. As a result, the prize pool for the 2011 Main Event alone stands at $64,531,000 million, with the winner’s share amounting to $8,711,956.

In addition to overall participation and prize money, the 2011 WSOP established new records for:

Most million-dollar tournaments: Forty-six of 58 events in this year’s WSOP boasted a prize pool of $1 million or more, up from 44 events set last year.

Largest Seniors event in history: Event #30 attracted 3,752 players, eclipsing by 19 percent the previous record of 3,142 set last year. Year-over-year event prize money was up nearly 15 percent from last year, jumping from $2,827,800 to $3,376,800.

Biggest single day attendance ever: 3,752 players in Event #30 ($1,000 buy-in).

Biggest single day attendance ever for $1,500 buy-in event: 3,389 players in Event #56

Most consecutive years with multiple event winner: Brian Rast’s two victories stretched the multi-event winner record to 12 consecutive years.

Most consecutive annual WSOPs played: Howard “Tahoe” Andrew of Walnut Creek, Calif., extended his record for most consecutive years played at the WSOP: 38.

Most cashes at WSOP without a win: Tony Cousineau of Daytona Beach, Fla., extended his record as the player with the most cashes – 49 – without a win.

Longest span between Event Cashes: The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and his most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history.  He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

All-time Cashes and Final Tables: Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (84) and final table appearances (43).

A complete list of tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP below:

·         Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2
·         Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3
·         Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10
·         Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16
·         Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18
·         Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20
·         Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20
·         Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22
·         Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23
·         Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
·         Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30
·         Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
·         Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)
·         Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history (2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) — Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19, 2011
·         Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39
·         Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42
·         Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,389 entries) – Event #56 (broke earlier series record for Event #18)

More First Time Winners at the 2011 WSOP

Last Updated on

WSOPWhile a lot of the attention has been on the bigger names in the 2011 World Series of Poker, such as Phil Hellmuth and John Juanda, there have been some very impressive first time winners of gold bracelets as well.  With the first 12 events being taken down by players who had never won a bracelet before; while Juanda was taking down the $10,000 2-7 No-Limit Draw Lowball Championship, a flurry of first time winners showed up once again.

It started with Event #13 a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout, as Andrew Badecker won his first gold bracelet.  This tournament format is set up so that the winner of each table moves on to the next round, and play another table until there is one winner.  1,440 players started, and every player who made day 2 was in the money.  The final table featured four bracelet winners in Erik Cajelais, Dan Kelly, David Pham, and Vitaly Lunkin, but it was Badecker who outlasted and outplayed all of them to take down the gold bracelet and $369,371.

Event #14 was just another new bracelet winner in Tyler Bonkowski who took down the $3,000 Limit Hold’em event.  The final table featured two fairly big names in Jeff Shulman and Shawn Keller.  Bonkowski started heads up play with a chip lead, but hit a bad stretch and fell to a 2,750,000 to 250,000 chip lead.  But Bonkowski battled back in what was one of the most impressive comebacks in World Series of Poker history, giving him the gold bracelet and $220,817.

Then came the Event #15 winner, a $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event, which was taken down by  first time winner Brian Rast.  Rast actually admitted that he almost didn’t play in this event, but that Antonio Esfandiari offered to stake him in the event, with a portion of the winnings going to Esfandiari.  It played out to be a good move for both Rast and Esfandiari.  Rast won his first ever World Series of Poker gold bracelet, and $227,232 and Esfandiari won a portion of that for staking Brian Rast.

Since Juanda’s win was in Event #16, this made an incredible run of 15 straight first time bracelet winners, before a player who already owned a gold bracelet took one down.  This should leave the remainder of the events, as well as the big Main Event, anyones game.

2011 World Series of Poker Winners and Losers

Last Updated on

WSOPAs we are just about half-way through the 2011 World Series of Poker, it’s been a story of up and downs so far for a lot of players.  Quite a few players won their first ever gold bracelets, while others have struggled to get any kind of momentum going in the 2011 World Series.  The 2011 WSOP is on pace to break records with the number of players who have shown up for it to this point, seemingly showing that Black Friday hasn’t affected the events at all to this point.  Here are a few of the winners and losers to the halfway point of the 2011 WSOP.


John Juanda– He’s been at the top of his game lately.  He’s a fan favorite, and an incredible player as well.  Juanda knocked off Phil Hellmuth to keep him from getting his 12th bracelet in the $10k 2-7 Single Draw Championship to give Juanda a bracelet at this 2011 WSOP.  He also found himself at the final table of the $2,500 8-game event, and has a few other good runs in events as well.  John Juanda has been the hot name so far at the 2011 World Series of Poker.

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier– What is there to say about ElkY?  He has cashed three times at this World Series, including a gold bracelet for an event that he had never even played in a live tournament of before.  One thing that people knocked on ElkY was his inability to win at the World Series of Poker, and that all changed after this year.

Steve Landfish– Landfish is showing he has game all over the board.  He’s posted a 2nd place finish to ElkY in the $10k Stud event, as well as a 4th place finish in the $10k Limit Hold’em event soon after that.  Landfish has the ability to compete with anyone at almost any game it seems.

Sam Stein– Stein is the current leader in the player of the year race, and won a bracelet in the $3k Pot Limit Omaha event.  He’s playing incredibly well right now, and also has a third place finish in the $10k Pot Limit Hold’m event as well.  He’ll be a tough out as player of the year if he keeps playing like this.


Tom Dwan- durrr is having a tough outing in the 2011 WSOP.  He’s played in a ton of events to this point, and has only had a decent run in the first event.  He’s been an early out on nearly every other event he’s played, but still has plenty of time to turn it around in the second half of the 2011 World Series.

Phil Ivey- You can’t really consider Ivey a “loser” at anything, but everyone would really love to see Ivey play; and of course he’s decided to sit this years 2011 WSOP out due to the situation with Full Tilt not paying their players.

Daniel Negreanu–  Negreanu’s spot is the same as Dwan’s.  He’s struggled at this World Series, with only one cash for $5k in a $1,500 event; although he has played in almost every event that he could.  Negreanu and Dwan are also both excellent players, and should be able to turn it around in the second half here.

The 2011 World Series of Poker still has 23 events remaining, including the Main Event on July 7th, which is a 13 day event.

2011 WSOP Event 23 Recap

Last Updated on

WSOPOur second mixed game event took place in Event 23: $2,500 Eight Game Mix. This tournament features the most different games to be played in a mixed game event in this year’s World Series of Poker, including Triple-Draw 2-7, Limit Hold’em, Omaha 8/b, Razz, Stud, Stud 8/b, No-Limit Holdem, and Pot Limit Omaha. If you’re able to keep all of these games straight, you have your shot at a bracelet!

489 players were confident in their abilities in this plethora of games, hoping to get their share of the $1.1 million prize pool. 48 players cashed this event, and, after their cooler in event 22, the pros were back in charge. After the money bubble broke, everywhere you looked, a familiar face lurked. Shaun Deeb, Jimmy Fricke, Andy Black, Eugene Katchalov, Eric Baldwin, Dan Kelly, and Eric Froelich were all sprinkled among the money finishers.

John Juanda joined former November Niners John Racener and Eric Buchman at the final table, ensuring that it would be a hard fight for the bracelet. Juanda was looking to earn his 6th bracelet in this event, having just won his 5th in event 15. It was not to be, and he exited in 6th place.

Buchman, who has plenty of final table experience, would fight until he was heads-up with John Monnette. While Monnette may not have had the final table experience of Buchman, he has cashed at the WSOP in almost every variation of poker in play in this event. Monnette also had the advantage of a huge chip lead, which he did not waste. He dispatched Buchman without too much excitement, sending the New Yorker back East with $170k in his pocket. Monnette, meanwhile, would pocket $278,144 and the ever-important WSOP Gold Bracelet.


2011 WSOP Event 22 Recap

Last Updated on

WSOPThe largest PLO field ever assembled at the World Series of Poker gathered for Event 22: $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha. 1,071 players came out to play one of the highest variance games in poker, creating a prize pool that almost reached $1.5 million.

The top 117 players would all profit at least $1,200 for their efforts, and the amateurs showed the pros that they know how to play this game. Tommy Vedes, David Chiu, Tom Franklin, and Michael Binger were among the few pros to make money in this tournament.

All together, the 9 men who made the final table combined for exactly one final table at the WSOP. Four of those were experiencing their first cash. There would also be a first time bracelet winner crowned, no matter who won.

When the players go to three handed, only one had cashed before, and he was the one with the final table. However, experience was unable to prevail for David Sands, and he was dispatched in 3rd place.

Elie Payan and Rafael Kibrit would play heads-up for the bracelet. Neither had been here before. Neither had even cashed the WSOP before. Payan entered heads-up play as a 2-1 chip leader, but gave it away at one point in the match, and Kibrit also claimed that same lead margin. However, he would not be able to hold on, as Payan regained the chip lead and never looked back. Kibrit was sent home in 2nd place, taking home $180k for his efforts.

Payan was the 2nd Frenchmen to win at this year’s WSOP, just a few hours after countryman Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier took one home. He also took with him $292,825. Between Elky and Payan, the French are trying to beat out the British as the foreign country to take home the most bracelets. With so many events still to go, it will be a fun race to watch.


Phil Ivey Lawsuit & WSOP Boycott Raises Fellow Pros’ Ire & Support, Alternately

Last Updated on

By now it’s no big news that Phil Ivey is boycotting the 2011 World Series of Poker. Nor are there many poker fans who haven’t yet heard that Ivey is suing Tiltware, the company responsible for Full Tilt Poker’s failure to refund to its locked-out U.S. players their unused funds and gains. That’s because it’s been all over the press of late, enough so to catch the attention and interest of some of Ivey’s fellow poker professionals, some of whom – like Daniel Negreanu – support his actions and some of whom – like Mike Matusow – don’t.

Let’s start with the pro-Ivey camp, currently headlined by Daniel Negreanu (by simple virtue of him being most vocal about his support.) Of course, Negreanu is sponsored not by Team Full Tilt, from which Ivey also resigned in protest, but Team Poker Stars, a company that already paid back its dislodged U.S. consitutency. Nevertheless, Negreanu has come out in favor of Ivey’s standing up for his values, as has another poker pro, Eric Froehlich.

On the nay side of the debate is Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, who called Ivey self-centered, along with some other epithets we couldn’t repeat in this forum. Agreeing that Ivey’s actions were self-serving is another poker pro Andrew Robl, who said that if Ivey felt so bad for players affected by the situation, he shouldn’t sue the company for the $150 million they owe the players. He should take the example of his fellow former Team Full Tilt pro Tom Dwan who said that if Full Tilt fails to pay back U.S. players the money it owes them, he will do so out of his own pocket.

2011 WSOP Event 21 Recap

Last Updated on

WSOPEvent 21: $10,000 Seven Card Stud is the fifth championship of this year’s World Series of Poker. 126 players paid the $10k entry fee for their shot at being called the Seven Card Stud World Champion. That, and their share of the $1.2 million prize pool.

Only 16 players made the money in this tournament, and those that did could make a “Who’s Who” list in the poker world. Matt Hawrilenko, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen, and Nick Schulman all finished in the money without making the final table, at least doubling their initial buy-in.

With those players being sent to the rail before the final table was formed, some great tournaments had to put themselves into position to win. These included Chad Brown, Alexander Kostritsyn, and John ‘World’ Hennigan all played to win the title. However, they would come up short; a Frenchman would eventually take it home.

A heads-up battle would take place between Steve Landfish and Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier that showed the prowess of each individual. The swings back and forth were dramatic, with each player holding most of the chips in play at one point or another. At the end of the crazy contest, though, Landfish was sent home with $200k in his pocket, his prize for finishing second.

The man known as Elky would claim his first WSOP bracelet, creating yet another Triple Crown winner this year (also, Jake Cody). The Frenchman took the bracelet and $331,639 back to Team PokerStars. Is Team France making a run at Team UK?


2011 WSOP Event 20 Recap

Last Updated on

WSOPYet another Stimulus Special event was played for Event 20: $1,000 No Limit Hold’em. 3,175 people showed up at the Rio, all on June 12th, to begin their march for the bracelet. 324 of these players cashed this event, almost as many as played Event 19 altogether!

A min-cash was just shy of $2,000, effectively doubling your entry fee. Gavin Smith, Hoyt Corkins, John Phan, and Lex Veldhuis represented the pros in this event, toeing their way through this massive field to make some money.

Frequently, these $1,000 buyins become the story of the amateurs. Almost everyone at the final table experienced their first WSOP cash at this event. There was a total of one bracelet between the nine of them (which went with 9th place finisher James Schaaf).

One player at the final table, though, has had his share of World Series success. Jason Somerville was at his fifth WSOP final table. His previous 4 finishes were each 2nd – 5th. Before this event, his winnings at the WSOP were just over $1 million.

It came as no surprise that Somerville got heads-up against Yashar Darian. Darian had a few previous cashes, all last year, and all at $1,000 or $1,500 events. However, before this event, he had failed to crack the top 200. The heads-up play did not last long, however. They got it all-in on the very first hand of heads-up, putting almost all of the chips in play into the pot. The chips were counted down, and Somerville had Darian outchipped. When the cards were turned over, Darian knew he was doomed: Somerville had the aces. Somerville was able to fade the board and dispatch the New Jersey native, sending him home with $300k.

Somerville, however, rounded out his final table experience with his win, beating the largest single day starting field in WSOP history. He collected his first bracelet and $493,091. He had a very supportive rail, including good friend Daniel Negreanu, and parlayed that into an astounding victory.


2011 WSOP Event 19 Recap

Last Updated on

WSOPEvent 19: $2,500 Limit Hold’em  Six Handed of this year’s World Series of Poker brought out 354 entrants to try their hand at winning a WSOP bracelet. These entrants all paid their $2,500, creating a $800k prize pool for the players to compete for. Unlike most tournaments where tables seat 9 players, only 6 players are seated at each table.

354 entrants meant that only the top 36 finishers were paid, and a few top pros were able to sneak into cashing. Justin Bonomo, David Chiu (who has cashed in every WSOP since 1998), Sam Grizzle, and Matt Matros all finished in the money. Barely missing the final table was Richard ‘nutsinho’ Lyndaker, an online nosebleed regular who finished in 7th place.

The final table was made up of players mostly unknown on the tournament circuit. For two of them, Samuel Golbluff and Kim Nguyen, this would be their first cash at the WSOP. Not bad for your first cash to be a final table.

The other players have had their share of success at the WSOP. While none had any titles, each had over $100k in earnings prior to this event. Darren Woods, who’s cashes at the WSOP had all come in $10k championships, would battle Nguyen heads-up for the title.

Nguyen, who was looking to become the first woman to win an open event at the WSOP since Vanessa Selbst in 2008, found herself right where Maria Ho was earlier this year. Sadly, her finish mirrored that of Ho. Woods took the chip lead early and ran with it, slowly chipping away at Nguyen’s stack until he eliminated her in 2nd place, sending her home with just shy of $132k in her first WSOP cash. Meanwhile, Woods collected his first WSOP bracelet and the $213,431.


2011 WSOP Event 18 Recap

Last Updated on

WSOPYet another of the $1.5k donkaments took place in Event 18: $1,500 No Limit Hold’em. 3,157 entrants came to Vegas this weekend to try their hand at winning a bracelet and a big payday by playing poker for a few days, trying to get their share of the $4.3 million prize pool.

A field this massive makes it difficult for pros to navigate. However, since this event paid an incredible 324 players, many were able to cash this event. Costa Rican Godfather of Poker Humberto Brenes, Erick ‘E-Dog’ Lindgren, Dwyte Pilgrim, and Prahlad Friedman were among the many that finished in the money.

The big story in this event is that it was a FOUR day event. Originally scheduled to be played over three days, this tournament was pushed to a 4th after 6 players remained after the ten level rule was implemented on day three. While a couple of other tournaments also stretched into day 4, none did so with as many as 6 players still remaining.

When the players returned for day 4, 6 remained, with 25 year-old Foster Hays leading the way. He worked to ensure his victory, eliminating four of the other five competitors. His heads-up battle, however, was one that really tested his mettle.

Hays entered heads-up as the massive chip leader, but Casey Helton would not simply be overlooked. Helton battled back, and even held the chip lead at some points in the heads-up match. The final hand shows how close the match was: it took the tournament staff 3 counts to make sure Hays actually had Helton covered. He did, and Helton was sent home $450k richer. Meanwhile, Hays put on a new bracelet and added $735,400 to his bankroll.