It’s a scorcher today in Las Vegas, where the mercury has pushed up beyond 110° Fahrenheit (44° Celcius). It’s always hot out here in the desert, of course, but it had been a comparatively clement 100° over the past week or so.

In a metaphorical sense, the temperature is also rising inside the Rio Hotel & Casino, home of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The 8,569-strong Main Event field was trimmed to only 106 at the start of the day, and they were quickly down into double figures after the noon resumption. Decisions are now potentially worth millions of dollars in equity, and weary nerves are fraying after five long and draining days.

Mercifully, tournament officials are able now to allow the field to breathe a little, and have rearranged the tables in the Amazon Room to put a good few yards between them. All three feature tables are again in use, but players on the six other tables are now yelling distance apart. It is, however, almost silent. There’s no one even close to a Will Kassouf this time around.

Room to breathe in the Day 6 tournament area

The relative absence of bodies in the room means the air conditioning is now blowing a chilly wind through the arena. It’s both a pressure cooker and an ice box in here — conditions pretty much unique to this pre-eminent tournament.

SPREADING THEM THIN

While the Main Event spreads out, the overall tournament schedule has actually never been busier. There are no fewer than nine bracelet events in play today, including the final table of the $3,000 Limit Hold ’em and the opening day of the $100,000 Super High Roller (of which more below).


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There’s plenty of bling on display in the Tan section of the Amazon Room where it’s Day 2 of the $1,500 “Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold’em” event, an invitation-only event with fairly self-explanatory qualification requirements. Over its 50 years, the WSOP has given out around 1,600 bracelets, though the cap on the field was necessarily far smaller than that. There are many multiple winners and obviously some players buying in these days only to the great poker game in the sky. Nevertheless, 185 highly recognisable players drew up seats in the event, making a $277,500 prize pool.

Bracelet winner Ylon Schwartz

At time of writing Liv Boeree, who won her bracelet in the tag team event in 2017, is in the middle of the pack with 45 players left. Twenty-eight spots are paid.

Today at the WSOP
Event #73: $10,000 Main Event – Day 6
Event #75: $1,000+111 Little One for One Drop No-Limit Hold’em – Day 4
Event #77: $3,000 Limit Hold’em 6-Handed – Final table
Event #78: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty – Final table
Event #79: $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Day 3
Event #80: $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha – Day 2
Event #81: $1,500 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold’em – Day 2
Event #82: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Double Stack – Day 1
Event #83: $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller – Day 1

HIGH ROLLERS ROLL BACK

The biggest buy-in event on this year’s WSOP schedule also got under way today as the $100,000 High Roller kicked off. Though there have been three tournaments already this summer with a buy-in of $50,000, this is the only time that players need to find six figures.

There has been at least one tournament of this buy-in level every year at the WSOP since the first ever $1 million Big One for One Drop in 2012, and trends in world poker have been moving towards higher buy-ins at the Super High Roller level for quite a while. (There’s a £1 million tournament scheduled for London next month, which will be the biggest ever.) However, the World Series continues to offer a balanced spread of buy-ins, a fact reflected by examining the average WSOP buy-in over the past decade.

If one wanted to play each of 90 events this year† (one buy-in only), it would cost $543,119, at an average buy-in of $6,034. Though the three iterations of the Big One for One Drop skewed average buy-ins for the years they ran, this figure has remained remarkably consistent if we omit the $1m buy-in event.

The average buy-ins for the WSOP for the past five years has never been lower than $5,883 nor higher than $6,193. The lowest average buy-in year was actually 2012, when the $1m event first appeared on the schedule. Aside from the inaugural One Drop, an average buy-in in 2012 was $3,958.

Average buy-ins at WSOP
Year Events Highest Average
2019 90 $100,000 $6,034
2018 78 $100,000 $6,091*
2017 74 $111,111 $5,883
2016 69 $111,111 $6,082
2015 68 $111,111 $6,193
2014 65 $50,000 $4,619*
2013 62 $111,111 $5,697
2012 61 $50,000 $3,958*
2011 58 $50,000 $4,715
2010 57 $50,000 $4,693

*Omitting the $1m Big One for One Drop
†One would also need to be a woman over the age of 60 who works in a casino to be able to play all of them, but you get the idea.

WSOP photography by PokerPhotoArchive

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