Wednesday, June 04, 2014

First-Place Guarantees at the WSOP

Jonathan Dimmig won Event No. 8 last night, the $1,500 buy-in “Millionaire Maker” event that drew a huge field of 7,977 entries -- the second-largest field ever for a World Series of Poker event behind the 2006 Main Event in which 8,773 participated. (That’s in terms of total entries, anyway, as the event did allow players who busted the first Day 1 flight to enter the second one, too.)

Dimmig picked up a cool $1,319,587 for the win. According to Hendon Mob his biggest previous cash was for $11,106 for finishing third in a WSOP Circuit event in San Diego. A decent boost to the career total, that.

The “Millionaire Maker” comes with a guaranteed first prize of $1,000,000, which clearly is a huge draw for players. Positioning the event early in the schedule rather than later (as was done a year ago) probably helps, too. The format was introduced last year, drawing a 6,343-entry field topped by Benny Chen who won $1,199,104.

They’re also experimenting this year with a guaranteed first-place prize in the Main Event -- $10 million, a figure ostensibly chosen because (1) it is higher than what recent Main Event first prizes have been (to make it the same or lower would make it less of a draw), and (2) because the number resonates with this being the 10th year the WSOP is being held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

The turnouts for both “Millionaire Maker” events have well exceeded what is needed for the typically-used payout schedule to award at least seven figures to the winner. In other words, no adjustments have been required that would take money away from other cashing spots to meet that $1 million guarantee for first.

That doesn’t appear at all likely for the Main Event, though, which I believe would have to draw something like 8,000 players or thereabouts in order for the traditionally used payout schedule to award $10 million for first. I’m thinking barely topping 7,000 entrants would be the most the WSOP could hope for this year. (Last week I guessed 7,039 for a PokerNews article on WSOP predictions.)

That means there is going to be something like $1-$1.5 million of the prize pool taken away from those finishing 2nd through 700th (or whatever) and given to the winner.

Very nice for the champ, but less so for everyone else.


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