Phil Ivey dominates record Day 1C Main Event field
8 July 2014
By Vin Narayanan
LAS VEGAS -- A record Day 1C flight of 3,768 players pushed the total field of the World Series of Poker Main Event to 6,683 players, making it the fifth-largest Main Event. The tournament champion will win $10 million, which the WSOP had guaranteed from the outset. The second-place finisher in this year's tournament will win $5,145,968.
Last year, Jay Farber won $5,174,357 for finishing in second despite having significantly fewer entrants in the field. The difference in prize money is the result of guaranteeing $10 million for first place. Ryan Riess won $8.36 million million for winning the Main Event in 2013. There were 6,352 entrants in 2013 field.
This is the first time since 2010 that the Main Event has posted an annual increase in entrants. It's also the first time the Main Event did not have the largest tournament field during the Series. Two WSOP bracelet events surpassed the Main Event this year in terms of entrants. The $1,500 Millionaire Maker (7,977 entrants) tournament and the $1,500 Monster Stack (7,862 entrants) boasted bigger fields than this year's Main Event.
The bigger fields for special $1,500 tournaments are part of the new poker landscape, according to Seth Palansky, vice president of corporate communications for Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) and the World Series of Poker.
Phil Ivey dominated play Monday and is one of the chip leaders heading into Day 2 action. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)
"We need to do more to get new people into the game," Palansky told Casino City. "Getting new people into the game at a $10,000 buy-in
level is harder than it's ever been ... those other events are intended to give the feel of the Main Event on a smaller scale."
"They're trying to get more people interested in the game, get them to fall in love with it and to one day play in the Main Event," Palansky added. "So we're not too concerned about that. We think we achieved great success on all levels. But there's clearly a movement of people circling events on the calendar and making sure they don't miss them. So we've added a couple more of those events along with the Main Event. That's a great thing for us."
Palansky also explained that the prize pool is one of their key metrics.
"We look at things in terms of prize pool in reality," Palansky said. "The Big One for One Drop had a cap of 56 players in part because we didn't want to break the threshold of $50 million (and) threaten the Main Event prize pool's (status) as the biggest. At the end of the day, you're still competing for $60 million-plus in the Main Event."
When asked if the increased attendance at the Main Event was directly attributable to the $10 million guarantee for first place, Palansky demurred.
"I wish we knew the answers," Palansky said. "I wish we could understand the mindset. We set the record for most people ever playing a flight of the Main Event. We've never had the 3,768 that showed up here today. There's clearly interest in playing this event. The $10 million was part marketing, part what we hope will help us next year when ESPN airs these shows and people see this $10 million out there that you can win for playing this event. We weren't sure how it would necessarily impact this year fully, but regardless it's been an incredible summer."
Daniel Negreanu was a fan favorite at the Main Event Monday. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)
"We've set the record for entries across one World Series of Poker, Palansky added. "It's the largest prize pool we've had, players from 107 countries showed up to participate, (we had) the largest PLO tournament ever, largest Razz
tournament ever, the records are just mind boggling. Quite frankly, it's hard to predict any of this. We draw up a schedule and hope people will show up and we're blown away by the reception we received this year."
The reception Monday was certainly remarkable. The 3,678 players who entered the tournament Monday filled the Rio to capacity, with tables in play in the Amazon, Brasilia and Pavilion rooms along with a set of tables by Buzio's Seafood Restaurant just off the main casino floor. There were poker players for as far as they eye could see. And oh what a field it was.
Phil Ivey. Daniel Negreanu. Paul Pierce. Richard Seymour. And of course, Phil Hellmuth. But that list doesn't do justice to the depth of star power and poker talent that graced the Rio Monday.
Soccer superstar Gerard Pique showed up to play. So did former Main Event champs Joe Hachem, Joe Cada, Greg Raymer, Jerry Yang, Jamie Gold and Robert Varkonyi.
Daniel Negreanu was a crowd favorite, inviting fans to the table to take selfies with him and chatting amiably with folks on the rail
throughout play. Negreanu was also a star on the felt as well and finished with 129,250 in chips. But as well as Negreanu performed, he wasn't the top story of the day. That honor belongs to Ivey.
Ivey doesn't look like the biggest guy in the world. But on the felt, he's one of the most intimidating players around. His opponents quake in his presence.
One player decided to raise Ivey's bet during one of the early levels of play Monday. When the player announced his raise, his voice was shaking, though he managed to steady his hands. As the player nervously watched on, Ivey stared him down with a withering glance before folding. It took almost a minute -- and a few deep breaths -- for Ivey's opponent to calm down.
Ivey dominated play and finished the night with 187,025. Only one player had a better day than Ivey Monday. That was Eric Tracey, who ended the day with 206,175.
NOTABLE CHIP STACKS
Ronnie Pease 181,850
Daniel Alaei 117,275
Jake Cody 115,525
Gavin Griffin 97,150
Gus Hansen 90,550
Marcel Luske 70,825
Robert Varkonyi 60,900
Paul Pierce 60,400
Vanessa Rousso 56,550
Carlos Mortensen 55,125
Barry Greenstein 53,300
Phil Hellmuth 49,425
David Tuchman 47,775
Gerard Pique 23,325
Scotty Nguyen 8,000