WSOP Fever


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Players and railbirds gather in Vegas for the biggest spectacle in global poker

Poker fever will rule for the 47 days of World Series of Poker that started at the beginning of this (June) month and will culminate next in the Main Event, where a buy-in of $10 000 gives entrants a chance to compete against thousands, including the world's best, to win huge amounts of hard cash from the richest prize-pool in sport.

For many it's not just about the money, but the respect that goes with earning a winner's bracelet in one of the 55 different competitions that make up the tournament schedule. Crafted by the luxury Swiss watchmaker Corum, this year's bracelets are said to be the most elegant and expensive in the tournament's 38-year history.

Organised by Harrahs at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in the world's gambling capital, the tournament is described without fear of contradiction by its director Jeffrey Pollack as "...the best schedule and widest range of events in the tournament's storied history."

ESPN will again provide live pay-per-view coverage of the Main Event Final Table this year, enabling poker fans to watch the action unfold in real time.

"We're very excited that for the first time ever, every ESPN telecast will be in high definition on ESPN HD," Pollack announced. ESPN will document play with 40 cameras, up from 26 last year, and its telecasts will include four additional hours coverage of the $10 000 buy-in Main Event and four additional hours of the $50 000 buy-in HORSE championship. ESPN's coverage of the 2007 WSOP will begin July 10 and continue for two hours each Tuesday night.

This time around, poker fans will be able to watch tape-delayed hole-card coverage of final-table play for 10 other bracelet events and get real-time chip-count and results updates for all events on, thanks to a new digital publishing alliance with Bluff Media, which will also provide radio coverage of WSOP events every day on Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as on selected terrestrial radio outlets.

Players will start with tournament chips equal to twice the buy-in for each event, and blind levels will increase at a pace designed to make for maximum entertainment and excitement. When and if competitors do make the money bubble, most will receive a higher percentage of the prize pools this year due to changes designed that make the payout structures more positive for the greatest number of players.

Charity arrangements this year include a VIP Lounge for players who make a tax-deductible $1 000 contribution to the Nevada Cancer Institute, the Official Community Relations partner of the WSOP. Benefits for lounge members include food, beverages, entertainment options and special parking privileges. WSOP will also host a truly star-studded "Ante Up for Africa" tournament on July 5 (see previous InfoPowa reports) Hollywood celebrities and top poker professionals will play, raising public awareness and financial help for victims of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.

"Our promise each year is to do better than we did the year before," says Pollack. "This will be the best World Series of Poker ever, and I'm confident that our players, fans, and sponsors will experience a new level of outstanding customer service."

Fears that new registration rules may diminish interest in the WSOP were to some measure allayed by initial signups for the first events, which started on June 1. Long lines of impatient players waited to register before the official list of entrants for the $5 000 Mixed Game event was set at 452. With the half-'n-half event (which is split between limit and no-limit Hold'em) the railbirds in the Amazon Room at the Rio were provided with entertaining and even educational poker.

There was some argument over the acceptability of new and much hyped "Poker Peek" playing cards which clearly were not popular, and were withdrawn to be replaced by conventional KEM cards after a few hours of play.

The high-priced buy-in for the event seemed to appeal to many of poker's aces. Gus 'The Great Dane' Hansen and Phil Hellmuth were two big names in a field that included former World Champions Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, Andy Black, Phil Ivey and T. J. Cloutier, among others.

But many professionals fell by the wayside as time and the competition advanced. Chris Ferguson was eliminated early, and he was followed later on by Phil Ivey, David 'DevilFish' Ulliott, Freddy Deeb and Nam Le, leaving the top ten survivors headed by Greg Mueller with chip counts ranging from 87 500 up to 130 000. But many top players remain in contention outside the ten top dogs, and anything could, and likely will, happen before the end of play Sunday.


From diverse sources, a look at the records in the world's biggest poker event

Who are the ten top players in WSOP rankings? To give an indication to readers, we have studied a range of criteria and where leading international players fit in each.

Starting with World Series of Poker numbers, we look at those players who have achieved the Most WSOP Final Tables:

T. J. Cloutier - 39
Phil Hellmuth Jr. - 37
Berry Johnston 29
Johnny Chan - 26
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson - 26
Erik Seidel - 26
"Miami John" Cernuto - 25
Dewey Tomko - 24
An "The Boss" Tran - 24
Jay Heimowitz - 23

NB: The legendary Doyle Brunson misses the top ten by a count of 1 - he's made 22 final tables.

Most WSOP Money Bubble achievers:

Phil Hellmuth Jr. - 57
Men "The Master" Nguyen - 54
T. J Cloutier - 51
Berry Johnston - 50
Brent Carter - 45
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson - 45
Humberto Brenes - 45
Erik Seidel - 42
Mike Sexton - 40
Dewey Tomko - 39; An "The Boss" Tran - 39 and "Miami" John Cernuto - 39

From Poker, the most prolific WSOP bracelet winners (there are only three on this list):

Winners of 10 WSOP Bracelets

Phil Hellmuth, Jr

2006 No-Limit Hold'em w/re-buys $631 863
2003 No-limit Hold'em $410 860
2003 Limit Hold'em $171 400
2001 No-limit Hold'em $316 550
1997 Pot-limit Hold'em $204 000
1993 No-limit Hold'em $173 000
1993 No-limit Hold'em $161 400
1993 Limit Hold'em $138 000
1992 Limit Hold'em $188 000
1989 Championship Event $755 000

Total WSOP Earnings: $4 038 568

Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson

2005 No-limit Hold'em $367 800
2003 HORSE $84 080
1998 Seven-Card Razz $109 800
1991 No-limit Hold'em $208 000
1979 Mixed Doubled $4 500
1978 Seven-Card Stud $68 000
1977 Championship Event $340 000
1977 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo $62 500
1976 Championship Event $220 000
1976 Deuce to Seven Draw $80 250

Total WSOP Earnings: $2 232 019

Johnny Chan

2005 Pot-limit Hold'em $303 025
2003 Pot-limit Omaha $158 100
2003 No-limit Hold'em $224 400
2002 Heads Up Match Play -
2000 Pot-limit Omaha $178 000
1997 Deuce to Seven Draw $164 250
1994 Seven-Card Stud $135 600
1988 Championship Event $700 000
1987 Championship Event $625 000
1985 Limit Hold'em $171 000

Total WSOP Earnings: $3 744 331

Top Ten WSOP Money Winners so far:

1. Jamie Gold $12 000 000
2. Joseph Hachem $7 525 850
3. Paul Wasicka $6 166 936
4. Allen Cunningham $6 000 281
5. Phil Hellmuth Jr. $4 880 524
6. Greg Raymer $5 433 450
7. Steven Dannenmann $4 250 000
8. Michael Binger $4 224 880
9. Johnny Chan $3 786 939
10. T.J. Cloutier $3 775 071

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