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Main Event sets new Day 1C record, but total participation drops

8 Jul 2015

By Dan Podheiser
LAS VEGAS – Participation is officially down at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2015, even with a record-setting Day 1C field.

A whopping 3,963 players showed up to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino on Tuesday to register for the Main Event, bringing the total 2015 field to 6,420 entrants. Last year’s tournament, which offered a guaranteed $10 million prize for first place, had 6,683 players.

The WSOP lifted the $10 million guarantee this year and instead guaranteed that the top 1,000 players would be paid (with a minimum of 5,000 entrants) and that every player at the final table would win at least $1 million. The winner of the 2015 Main Event will take home $7.68 million, while 1,000th place will earn $15,000.

Phil Hellmuth (left) and Phil Ivey (right, backwards) played at the same table on Day 1C of the 2015 WSOP Main Event.

Phil Hellmuth (left) and Phil Ivey (right, backwards) played at the same table on Day 1C of the 2015 WSOP Main Event. (photo by Dan Podheiser/Casino City)

The drop in participation in the Main Event comes in the wake of the largest poker tournament in the history of the game, as the $565 buy-in WSOP Colossus event held at the beginning of the series drew 22,374 entries and 14,284 unique players.

By the end of Day 1C, 2,765 of the 3,963 players had survived, joining the 480 and 1,141 players who made it through Days 1A and 1B, respectively. Players from the first two days will combine to play Day 2A on Wednesday, while Day 1C survivors will reconvene at the Rio for Day 2B on Thursday. The two fields will then merge starting on Day 3 on Friday.

Leading the field at the end of the night Tuesday was John Gorsuch of Woodbridge, Virginia, who bagged 198,100 chips. Gorsuch is also the overall chip leader among the three Day 1 flights.

Ryan Riess doubled up early in the day, and the 2013 Main Event champ finished the day with an impressive 109,500 chips. Riess' fellow past Main Event champion, Jamie Gold (2006), also got off to a great start Tuesday and ended the night with 90,000.

Everybody Loves Raymond co-stars Ray Romano and Brad Garrett both survived Day 1. Romano finished the day with 33,375, while Garrett had an impressive 50,500.

But the big story of the day was the Phils -- Ivey and Hellmuth. The two poker legends played at the same table in the Pavilion after the dinner break, as Hellmuth was the last player to register for the tournament. Hellmuth quickly built his chip stack and finished the day with 79,725 chips, while Ivey bagged 22,800.

The most notable exit on Tuesday was last year's Main Event champion, Martin Jacobson, who busted early in the day. Other notable players to hit the rails include Patrik Antonius, Jen Harman, football star Richard Seymour, actor Aaron Paul, Jeff Madsen, 2007 Main Event champion Jerry Yang and back-to-back November Niner Mark Newhouse.
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