Even with Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey playing at the same table yesterday during Day 1c, the highlight thus far -- for what it’s worth -- seems to have been watching to see where the final total number of entrants was going to settle.
I had been posting of late about the various predictions people were making before the WSOP began. The PokerNews guys’ guesses for this year’s Main Event turnout ranged from 6,150 to 6,800. I was on the higher end of that spectrum, having guessed 6,774. The total finally settled at 6,420 -- very close to Chad Holloway’s guess of 6,400 and Donnie Peters’s of 6,480.
That’s down, of course, from the 6,683 who played the Main Event a year ago (about a 4% drop), although more than the 6,352 who played in 2013.
Meanwhile because of the newly-introduced payouts (including ensuring all who make the final table will earn at least $1 million), first place is getting “only” $7,680,021 this year. You have to go all of the way back to 2004 when Greg Raymer earned $5 million for becoming the champ to find a lower first prize.
Even so, I think the turnout total represents another example of “holding steady,” which has to be regarded as a victory of sorts for the WSOP and Caesars -- not unlike a player who keeps getting dealt marginal hands yet keeps his stack roughly where it is.
Not sure how many exactly made it through the three Day 1 flights -- there were conflicting totals reported all over, but it looked like something close to 4,400 or so. The fact that 1,000 are getting paid this year will make the bubble bursting come a little earlier, probably sometime late Friday (I imagine) after the various flights all combine for Day 3.
Like I say, it all feels pretty even keel at the moment, but hopefully once they get into the money the subsequent days will provide a little more drama.