Main Event attracts second-largest field in history

The winner of the 2010 World Series of Poker’s Main Event will collect more than $8.9 million, the third largest prize in the tournament’s 41-year history.

Some 7,319 players signed up to play in the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship event, which began Monday at the Rio, the second largest field ever for the Main Event.

The 57-event World Series of Poker smashed several all-time figures during its six-week run. A record 72,966 players participated in the various events — 20 percent more than a year ago. The participants created a prize pool of more than $187.1 million, the largest in the tournament’s history, and a 3.5 percent increase from the 2008 record of $180.8 million.

"The buzz started early and the continuity of the events on weekends helped target a specific audience," World Series of Poker Vice President Ty Stewart said Thursday. "We knew our customer. We also released the schedule of events early."

In the past six weeks, the World Series of Poker hosted nine of the 17 largest tournaments in live poker history.

For the Main Event, World Series of Poker officials scheduled four days of "first day" tables through Thursday. Remaining players will start returning Friday and play through July 17 when a final table of nine players is determined.

"The Main Event is a bucket list, it’s a badge of honor to swim with the poker sharks," Stewart said. "When you gage the interest in the game of poker, you have to attend the World Series of Poker."

Stewart credited the increased size of the Rio’s tournament poker facility and a move away from playing on July 4th with the large number of participants.

The Main Event prize pool topped almost $68.8 million. The runner-up will earn more than $5.54 million and third place will collect $4.13 million. The fourth place finisher wins almost $3.1 million while fifth place collects $2.3 million. The sixth place finisher wins $1.77 million while seventh place earns $1.3 million. Eighth place earns $1.04 million while the ninth place finisher collects $811,823.

Payouts in the Main Event will go to 747 players.

The field of 7,319 fell short of the 8,773 seen in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event, won by Hollywood producer Jamie Gold who collected $12 million.

In 2008, Peter Eastgate of Denmark won $9.15 million for winning the tournament, topping a field of 6,843 players.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

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