A record 148 high-stakes poker professionals took to the felt Sunday at the 38th Annual World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light to compete for a multi-million-dollar payday and determine who is the game’s best all-around player.
The second annual H.O.R.S.E. World Championship – featuring a $50,000 buy-in and competition in five poker variations – is widely regarded by the game’s best players to be the ultimate test of poker skill. Play in the five-day event, which will pay more than $7 million in prize money, began Sunday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
The event attracted scores of the game’s most popular names, including Phil Ivey, Annie Duke, Daniel Negreanu, and Howard Lederer, as well as several former world champions, including Doyle Brunson; Johnny Chan; Phil Hellmuth, Jr.; Jim Bechtel; Scotty Nguyen; Greg Raymer and Chris Ferguson. The top 16 finishers will receive a share of the $7,104,000 prize pool.
Poker great Chip Reese won the inaugural H.O.R.S.E. World Championship last year, besting a field of 143 of the world’s best players to collect $1,784,640. He returned to defend his title this year and compete for the top prize of $2,276,832.
"This is poker's all-star event," said World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "We think the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. bracelet will soon become the bracelet that professional players covet most."
The $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship requires participants to play a rotation of five popular forms of poker – (H)old ‘em, (O)maha High-Low, (R)azz, Seven-Card (S)tud and Seven-Card Stud (E)ight or Better. Poker greats consider the winner of the event the best all-around player because it demonstrates he or she can outplay top professionals in a wide range of game variations with high stakes on the line.