Monday will see the start of the $10 000 buy-in Main Event of the 41st World Series of Poker, so it's perhaps a good time to refresh memories on what the main event is all about.
This is the last of this year's WSOP events and the culmination of 56 poker competitions that have attracted the best poker players in the world, along with a host of amateur hopefuls and spectators, to the Rio in Las Vegas.
Since May 27th the contestants in the various events have vied for big money prizes and the respect that winning a WSOP gold winner's event bracelet brings.
The defending champion this year is Joe Cada, who in 2009 won the main event to become the youngest player to do so. His prize, worth $8.55 million, came from a prize pool generated by the 6,494 players who originally registered to compete in the main event. It fell significantly short of the record $12 million first prize taken in a previous main event by Jamie Gold.
This year's main event prize will again be dependent on the number of entries for the competition, and the prize pool that their entry fees generate, and will be released by the organisers next week once registrations have closed.
The average number of players who ‘cash' in the main event is usually the top ten percent of finishers, with payouts generally starting at around double the buy-in amount and rising on a sliding scale the higher up the ladder the player finishes.
The main event always attracts a big field of entries, and therefore the first day is split into four ‘heats', with Day 1a starting Monday, Day 1b on Tuesday and so on. The survivors of Day1a and Day 1c, and Day 1b and 1d, are then combined, with the survivors of the resulting Day 2 action finally combined into one field on Day 3, which should come about this year around July 12.
The remaining contestants then play through a series of days until all but nine players – the final table or ‘November Nine' – have been eliminated, probably around July 17/18.
It is at this stage that a controversial hiatus in the action occurs. This involves final table play being suspended until early November (hence the ‘November 9' title for the players) which is reputed to be at the behest of the television broadcasters that give WSOP so much global coverage.
Introduced two years ago, this system is not popular with everybody, but is a fait accompli. Therefore the nine finalists will reconvene November 6 and play down to a heads up between the last two players still in the game. On November 8, those two players then face off to decide the winner.