Nearly a week after action got underway, registration has now officially closed in the 2021 World Series of Poker main event. A total of 6,650 players put up the $10,000 buy-in, creating the 10th-largest field in the history of the no-limit hold’em championship. The big turnout, achieved over an unprecedented six starting flights, built a final prize pool of $62,011,250. The eventual champion is set to win $8,000,000 this year, along with the massive jewel-encrusted championship bracelet.
The top 1,000 finishers will make the money this year, with a min-cash being worth $15,000. The top 63 finishers will cash for at least six figures ($113,800), while the final nine will all earn $1,000,000 or more. Full payouts can be found on the event’s tournament page.
Two additional starting flights were added to the originally planned four in order to accommodate international players after the US government eased travel restrictions starting on Nov. 8. This year also saw late registration extended into day 2, which allowed players to buy in all the way up to the start of level 8, which was several hours into day 2. These changes helped drive turnout in a year where nobody knew what to expect thanks to unique circumstances, including the WSOP’s requirement proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to participate.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” WSOP Vice President Jack Effel told Card Player after the final numbers were in. “I think having the extra two flights to allow more of the international players to able to get here really helped. Seeing their smiling faces, even if they looked kind of a bit exhausted, was a great thing. It’s been an amazing turnout all the way around, just nothing but a success from our standpoint.”
Here is a look at the top ten WSOP main events by field size:
|Year||Entries||Prize Pool||Top Prize||Champion|
Day 2 of the main event was split into two separate flights, with the survivors of days 1A, 1B, and 1D combining for day 2ABD on Tuesday, Nov. 9, and those who made it through flights 1C, 1E, and 1F coming together for day 2CEF on Wednesday, Nov. 10. A total of 290 late entries were made across the two day 2 flights, joining the 6,360 entries made during the six day 1 starting flights.
When the dust settled, a total of 2,362 players had moved on to day 3, led by Conrad De Armas (744,000). The Miami, Florida resident has just shy of $50,000 in career tournament earnings, but is well-positioned to add to that in a major way with a deep run in the largest poker tournament in the world.
Plenty of accomplished tournament players made it through with top-50 stacks, including nine-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Daniel Lowery (625,600), high-roller rising star David Coleman (613,500), two-time bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo (580,000), Matt Glantz (580,000), bracelet winner Stephen Song (540,300), 2004 WSOP main event runner-up David Williams (499,100), 2021 WSOP $25,000 high roller winner Tyler Cornell (487,000), Mustapha Kanit (473,300), and 2021 main event fourth-place finisher Russell Thomas (469,400).
Plenty of previous world champions are alive with a shot at taking down another main event title, including 2003 winner Chris Moneymaker (531,600), 2016 winner Qui Nguyen (479,100), 2014 champion Martin Jacobson (288,100),2008 champion Jerry Yang (57,500), 2017 champion Scott Blumstein (50,800), and 2005 champion Joe Hachem (50,800). Moneymaker had previously announced in August that he planned to skip this year’s WSOP due to concerns about the possibility of bringing the virus home to his children.
REALLY hate it but canceled my trip to El Paso and Vegas for the WSOP</a>. My 9 year old cant be vaccinated and I do not want to bring the virus home to him. <a href=”https://twitter.com/ACR_POKER?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>ACR_POKER #nextyearihope
— Chris Moneymaker (@CMONEYMAKER) August 6, 2021
Moneymaker ultimately decided to fly in for the main event’s final starting flight, and now sits with a top-30 stack heading into the business end of the tournament. Moneymaker won a big chunk of his chips late on day 2 when he picked up AA against the KK of Bryan Reyes. The two got all of the chips in on a Q665 board, and the 10 river secured the huge pot for Moneymaker.
While some big names thrived on day 2, plenty of others had their main event come to an end, including several previous winners of this tournament like ten-time bracelet winner and back-to-back main event champion Doyle Brunson, 2019 main event champion Hossein Ensan, 1983 main event champion Tom McEvoy, 1998 champion Scotty Nguyen, and 2013 champion Ryan Riess.
Other notables to be eliminated were nine time bracelet winner Erik Seidel, four-time bracelet winners Asi Moshe and Adam Friedman, and two-time bracelet winners Brandon Adams, Nathan Gamble, and David ‘ODB’ Baker.
The remaining 2,362 players will return at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, with blinds starting at 1,200-2,400 with a big ante of 2,400. Stay tuned to Card Player for more coverage of the 2021 WSOP main event.