50th World Series of Poker Opening Weekend Event Is Largest Live Tournament Ever; 80 Events Remain at Rio Hotel & Casino Through July 16

The BIG 50
, the World Series of Poker’s (WSOP) special opening weekend tournament to kick off the 50th running of poker’s most prestigious tournament series has become the biggest of them all – a testament to the rapid growth in popularity the WSOP has enjoyed in the modern era (Photo credit: Hotchstetler).

A record 28,371 entrants competed in this $500 buy-in event, setting the record for the most participants ever in one live poker tournament. This breaks the 2015 record by nearly 27%, set at the 46th annual WSOP for the Colossus event which had 22,374 entries. Full breakdown of BIG 50 numbers coming soon, but a few notable #’s:

  • 1,418,550,000 chips in play (most ever; each player started with 50,000 in chips)
  • $13,509,435 – Prize Pool, smashing the $5 million event guarantee (largest ever for $500 price point)
  • $1,150,500* – 1st place prize (event guaranteed $1 million, but naturally grew higher with more entries)
  • 709,275 – # of physical poker chips used (each player started with 25 individual poker chips totaling 50,000)
  • 28,371 entries (most ever)
  • 17,970 unique participants
  • 10,401 re-entries
  • 4,258 — # of places paid (most ever), ranging from $750 to $1,150,500*
  • 1,208 — # of dealers utilized for this event’s opening starting flights (there were 4 starting flights)

Drawn by the promise of “rake-free” (where a player’s first entry has no house fees, with all $500 of entry going to the prize pool), along with a huge 50,000 starting chip stack and long 50-minute playing levels, more players than ever before showed up to compete in the WSOP’s opening weekend event in 2019.

The winner, to be crowned Friday, will walk away with 2,300 times their investment — $1,150,500*, a prestigious WSOP gold bracelet, and the title of winning the largest poker tournament ever held live.

“What a way to kick things off for our 50th,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “It’s a testament to the love of the game of poker so many of us have, and we’re so thankful for the players who came out to usher in our 50th iteration. From humble beginnings 50 years ago with a half dozen players, to creating a $13 million+ prize pool for a $500 buy-in – unheard of — and truly shows the modern day poker scene is alive and well and ready to cater to a new generation.”

The BIG 50 tournament offered more value than any tournament ever before at the $500 price point and the players responded in a big way. The WSOP has overhauled the majority of their tournaments in 2019, with larger starting chip stacks and deeper structures throughout all buy-in levels. This provides players plenty of value and time to play. In addition, a slew of $1,000 and under buy-in events (11 events live, 6 online) promise to meet the demand of the price-conscious consumer, and they are sprinkled throughout this seven-week series.

In 2004, the first year the WSOP was under Caesars Entertainment ownership, the entire event attracted 14,054 entrants. In this one tournament alone (the BIG 50), we served more than twice as many entrants (28,371) and through just ten events thus far in 2019, have already seen 40,078 enter events and given away more than $28 million.

The WSOP had paid out $2.99 billion in its previous 49 years. With the opening day gold bracelet events on May 29, the WSOP surpassed the $3 billion mark, and expects to award more than $200 million at this year’s WSOP.

$2.8 billion of all WSOP prize money awarded to date has come under Caesars’ ownership the last 15 years.

The WSOP is set to run until July 16, 2019 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas with 80 more events still on tap. The entire event schedule is located here: http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/

A record 123,865 entries participated in the 2018 WSOP, creating a 49-year high of $266,889,193 in prize money. The average WSOP gold bracelet event in 2018 had a $3,421,656 prize pool with $655,337 going to the winner.

Buy-ins for tournaments at the Rio start as low as $70. Single table satellites and all your favorite live poker games: low, medium and high limit began on May 28 and run 24 hours a day throughout the seven-week series taking place in the spacious Rio Convention Center for the 15th consecutive year.

Room reservations are available across Caesars’ Las Vegas properties with lower rates for existing Caesars Rewards members. Visit Las Vegas – WSOP to make your room reservations for the 2019 WSOP.

Individual event online registration is open. Register online or in person at the Rio. Visit http://www.wsop.com/registration/ for details.