LAS VEGAS — The World Series of Poker's $1 million Big One for One Drop got underway Sunday afternoon at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, bringing together the world's toughest (and best bankrolled) professional poker players and some of the world's most successful businessmen. Here are 10 numbers of note from the tournament's first day.
10. Forty-two: Number of players
Two years ago, the World Series of Poker capped the number of entrants at 48, playing six eight-handed tables. This year, the event could have started with five tables, as just 38 players had registered when the event began.
With the cap increased to 56 players this year, late registration was allowed, and four players joined the fray by the start of level three to increase the count to 42.
9. Thirteen*: Number of non-poker pros
Twenty-nine of the players in the field are professional poker players, while 13 players are businessmen or celebrities. Two years ago, 20 of the 48 players were non-pros. The drop in the percentage of amateur players in the field from 41.7 percent to 31.0 percent is concerning for the future of the event. Why did so few amateurs turn out this year? Do the businessmen feel like they don't have a chance to win? Will pros find enough value in the tournament to continue playing?
8. One: Levels played by David Einhorn
It took hedge fund manager Einhorn just about one hour to dust off his 3 million tournament chips. Einhorn, who finished in third place in this event two years ago, busted on a particularly brutal hand, flopping a set of jacks on the flop before falling behind 2012 runner-up Sam Trickett's gutshot straight on the turn. The board failed to pair on the river, and Trickett raised Einhorn all-in, and Einhorn was shocked to see his tournament was over.
7. Twenty-three: Number of new players to the event
While this year's field doesn't quite meet the draw in 2012, one thing that will encourage WSOP officials is that 23 players who didn't play two years ago joined the fray this year. That's pretty high turnover, but one has to imagine that it isn't easy for many players to put together the scratch needed to play in the Big One every two years.
6. Five: Number of German players
Germany has produced plenty of successful professional poker players, with none gaining more fame than 2011 Main Event champion Pius Heinz. Five young Germans not named Pius Heinz plunked down the $1 million to buy in on Sunday: Max Altergott, Philipp Gruissem, Niklas Heinecker, Tobias Reinkemeier and Christoph Volgelsang.
What, they beat us on the soccer pitch and all of a sudden they think they're going to come to the WSOP in Vegas and take down the Big One? Recent history shows that Americans have dominated this year's WSOP, outside of two bracelet wins by (you guessed it) Germany's George Danzer. The Germans didn't fare well on Day 1 of this tournament, however, with Altergott, Gruissem and Heinecker eliminated.
5. One: Number of women
In 2012, the Big One for One Drop consisted of 48 men and zero women. Vanessa Selbst declared her intention to play weeks ago and made good on that promise, becoming the first woman to buy into a $1 million poker tournament. Women typically make up about 3 percent of WSOP open events, so one woman among 42 is about in line with what you'd expect.
Unfortunately for Selbst, her A-K ran into Sam Trickett's K-K late on Day 1, and while she hit an ace on the flop, she was eliminated when the case king appeared on the turn.
4. Thirty-one: Number of players that survived Day 1
After nine levels of play, 31 players survived to play on Day 2. In addition to players mentioned earlier, other players eliminated included Stanley Choi, Igor Kurganov, Brian Rast, Jason Mercier, Dan Smith and Rolo Lo.
3. $1.3 million: Eighth-place min-cash
You don't typically see poker tournaments pay out 20 percent of the field, and a min-cash usually nets a player about two times his/her buy-in. But, of course, you also don't typically see $1 million poker tournaments.
The flatter payout structure at the bottom of the prize pool evens out the variance for players a bit. In order to double their money, players will have to finish in fifth or better.
2. $15.3 million: First-place prize
It doesn't quite match the $18.3 million Antonio Esfandiari won in 2012 (Esfandiari actually celebrated when tournament officials announced that this year's winner wouldn't eclipse his record-setting win), but when this tournament concludes on Tuesday, the winner will take home the second-largest tournament prize in poker history.
1. $4.6 million: Money raised for One Drop
With $111,111 of each entry going to the One Drop Foundation, more than $4.6 million will go toward the charity's mission of ensuring that clean water is available all over the world. While the first-place prize is massive, this number is arguably more important and will have a larger impact on a much broader scale.
*NOTE: This article has been corrected; it originally stated that there were 30 professional poker players and 12 non-pros in the field.
Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.