LAS VEGAS (AP) — Marathon sessions of bluffing, betting and reading opponents for any hints at their cards will soon be over at the World Series of Poker main event, when the last nine players claim at least $1 million each and a spot at the final table.
The battle started with 6,420 players each paying $10,000 to enter. After seven sessions of gameplay spread over 10 days, the players left standing in the no-limit Texas Hold ‘em tournament Tuesday night or early Wednesday will each be paid just over $1 million in ninth place money, with a chance for more at the final table that starts Nov. 8 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The winner will claim $7.7 million and the event’s coveted gold bracelet, joining poker legends like Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan as series champions.
Players compete during the main event at the World Series of Poker Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. Poker pros and a few celebrities are among 4,371 players who remain in the Las Vegas showdown. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Who won’t be at the final table? No prior main event champions, or any of the nine men who reached the finals last year. Most of poker’s biggest stars are also gone, though six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu sat ninth in chips before play started Tuesday.
Also out is 94-year-old William Wachter of Carmel, New York, who still managed to do what thousands of other players couldn’t, earning a profit by placing 524th and winning $19,500. The World War II veteran broke a record for being the oldest player to win money in the event’s 46-year history.
Among others whose dreams were dashed: the winner of the tournament’s ladies-only event, last year’s $10 million main event winner and celebrity players including film actors James Woods and Jennifer Tilly and the stars of television show “Everybody Loves Raymond” Brad Garrett and Ray Romano who provided comic relief at their tables when they weren’t playing. Director of “The Notebook” Nick Cassavetes also tried as did actor Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad.”
Ray Daoud was one spot away from winning any prize money, finishing 1,001th, but the distinction earned him a free entry into next year’s main event.
The World Series of Poker has been crowning a champion since 1970 when it was by invite-only at Binion’s Horseshoe and the players voted on the ultimate winner. Since then, only four players have won the main event more than once.
The series started May 27 and includes 68 events culminating with the main event.
The main event had fewer entries than last year and a guaranteed $10 million top prize was swapped for payouts to the top 1,000 finishers instead, after players pushed organizers to make the change.
The series attracted more than 100,000 entries for Poker88 (click here to read) the first time, awarding $210.3 million in prize money, boosted largely by this year’s Colossus event that cost $565 to enter and attracted 22,374 entries.
Former main event winner Chris Moneymaker keeps a charm on his stack of chips during the main event at the World Series of Poker Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Players compete during the main event at the World Series of Poker Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. Over 4,000 players remain in the tournament seeking the over $7 million dollar prize.(AP Photo/John Locher)
Players compete during the main event at the World Series of Poker Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Las Vegas. poker pros and a few celebrities are among the over 4,000 players who remain in the Las Vegas showdown. (AP Photo/John Locher)