2021 World Series of Poker Main Event: 6,360 Entries Made Through Six Starting Flights

The 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event kicked off with the first of six starting flights on Thursday, Nov. 4. Poker’s world championship was originally slated to have four starting days for players to choose from, but two more were added just a few weeks before the big dance got underway. These additional flights were in response to news of the U.S.’s easing of international travel restrictions beginning on Nov. 8.

The starting flights ran from Nov. 4-9. When all was said and done, a total of 6,360 entries were made. This would be enough to make this the 13th-largest main event in terms of field, but there is still plenty of time for the final number of entries to climb higher. Late registration is open through the end of level 7, several hours into day 2. The final chance for players to enter will be at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Day 2CEF on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Below is a look at the breakdown of the turnout across the six starting flights:

Starting Flight Entries Survivors Daily Chip Leader (Count)
Day 1A 523 348 Mustapha Kanit (363,500)
Day 1B 845 611 Steve Foutty (287,000)
Day 1C 600 433 Aleksandr Shevliakov (392,600)
Day 1D 2,550 1,933 Adedapo Ajayi (340,900)
Day 1E 797 592 David Gerassi (316,100)
Day 1F 1,045 782 Adam Walton (334,000)

Mustapha KanitDay 1C’s Aleksandr Shevliakov was the overall chip leader after the starting flights concluded, with 392,600. The next-largest stack belongs to Italian poker pro Mustapha Kanit (363,500), who will be looking to add to his career earnings of more than $12 million with a strong showing in the main event.

Other big stacks to emerge from the starting flights included 2021 World Poker Tour Choctaw main event winner Adedapo Ajayi (340,900), 2019 main event third-place finisher Alex Livingston (319,200), Fabian Quoss (273,800), three-time bracelet winner David ‘Bakes’ Baker (247,300), Matt Glantz (236,000) and five-time bracelet winner Michael Mizrachi (212,300).

Prior champions of this event who moved onto day 2 included 2005 champion Joe Hachem (186,100), ten-time bracelet winner and back-to-back main event champion Doyle Brunson (151,000), 2016 winner Qui Nguyen (143,800), 2008 champion Jerry Yang (130,100), 2014 champion Martin Jacobson (120,100), 1983 champion Tom McEvoy (96,900), 2017 champion Scott Blumstein (95,000), 2019 champion Hossein Ensan (84,000), 2003 winner Chris Moneymaker (75,800), 1998 champion Scotty Nguyen (52,200), and 2013 champion Ryan Riess (40,600).

All-time bracelet winner and 1989 main event champion Phil Hellmuth (94,500) also made it through the day after his customary late arrival in costume. This year his grand entrance was made as Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings.

Plenty of notable players were eliminated from contention during the day one string flights, including 2020 WSOP main event champion Damian Salas, 10-time WSOP champion and back-to-back main event winner Johnny Chan, five-time bracelet winners Brian Rast and Shaun Deeb, three-time bracelet winner and 2015 main event champion Joe McKeehen, 2004 main event winner Greg Raymer, three-time bracelet winner Ryan Leng, two-time bracelet winner and Card Player Publisher Barry Shulman, high-stakes tournament star Dan Smith, and six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu. The 2015 WSOP 11th-place finisher will not be able to improve on that deep run this year, having run KHeart SuitKDiamond Suit into the ASpade SuitAClub Suit of Ayman Mahfoud during level 2 of day 1E.

Day 2ABD ran alongside the final starting flight. Stay tuned to CardPlayer for a recap of every day of the 2021 WSOP main event moving forward.

Bracelet photo credit: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.