The World Series of Poker Main Event started in 1970 with seven players competing in a cash game.
Since the poker boom of the 2000s, it has grown into one of the largest tournaments on the calendar each year and is a bucket list item for many players.
Here are the five largest fields in the history of the WSOP’s $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship:
10,043 — The record was set in 2023, as the WSOP ran numerous promotions and online satellites to ensure a massive field. Daniel Weinman emerged victorious and took home $12.1 million, the largest first prize ever awarded at the Main Event.
8,773 — At the peak of the poker boom in 2006, players flocked to the Rio Convention Center for a piece of the action. Jamie Gold ran hot to reach the final table, then put the remaining players on tilt with his table talk and claimed the $12 million first prize.
8,663 — After two years of restrictions at the WSOP from the coronavirus pandemic, the 2022 Main Event signaled a resurgence in poker’s popularity. Espen Jorstad of Norway won the $10 million first prize as the series was held on the Strip for the first time.
8,569 — The 2019 Main Event might be best remembered for the earthquake that hit California and was felt in Las Vegas during the tournament. The field was the largest since 2006, and Hossein Ensan of Germany captured the title and $10 million top prize.
7,874 — In 2018, poker’s popularity was on the rise with a new generation playing live and online. John Cynn, a professional poker player from Northbrook, Illinois, emerged from what was the second-largest Main Event field at the time and earned $8.8 million.