WSOP $1 Million Buy-In Tournament Underway
48 Players All Competing For Record $18 Million Top Prize
After a 13-month wait, the World Series of Poker $1 million buy-in event finally has its cards in the air. At around 2 p.m. local time on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada, 48 poker players began the three-day quest for $18 million, the game’s largest ever top prize.
Despite the small field size, there may be hundreds of people financially sweating the action. By selling shares, some of the game’s best found the funds to play..
“Out of guys who have made their money from poker, there’s maybe two or three tops who can afford this [$1 million] buy-in and are properly bankrolled for it,” said Justin Bonomo, who narrowly missed out on finding the money to play.
Joining the professional gamblers are a contingent of individuals who made their respective fortunes in the business world. Hedge fund manager Dan Shak and Cary Katz of College Loan Corp both kept 100 percent of their own action.
The field wasn’t finalized until early Sunday morning when Danish pro Gus Hansen won a 96-player $25,000 buy-in qualifier. The event, which had a turbo format, guaranteed one seat and divided the remainder of the prize pool to the second and third finishers.
The satellite also drew Steve Meling, a recreational player from Nebraska, who came up just short of turning $65 into an entry into the priciest event in poker history. Meling busted sixth.
Despite having plenty of interested investors, 13-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth acquired a seat via a VIP satellite hosted by MGM Resorts International.
Ever since it became public that there was a cap for the event, speculation within the poker community was that it would be lifted as the tournament neared. Billionaire Guy Laliberté, who organized the event for his charity One Drop, never budged on 48.
He told Card Player that he wanted some balance of professionals and amateurs.
“It’s kind of like a red corner versus blue corner,” Laliberté said.
Mike Matusow, who is not playing but has an opinion on most things, Tweeted this week: “If a businessman wins One Drop, the whole poker world will be dead broke forever.”
Laliberté added that the exclusivity of the tournament is a “show producer’s dream.”
WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart has said that the $1 million buy-in is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but Laliberté has hinted that there is a market for it to run annually.
WSOP.com will be streaming both day 1 and day 2 action. ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN 3 will pick up the live coverage on Tuesday for the final table.
Here’s the official list of entrants:
|1||Bobby Baldwin||Chief Design & Construction, MGM||Las Vegas, NV||62|
|2||Frederic Banjout||CEO, Eden Shoes||France||42|
|3||Bob Bright||CEO, Bright Trading, LLC||Las Vegas, NV||72|
|4||Ilya Bulychev||Businessman||Moscow, Russia||34|
|5||Roland De Wolfe||Professional Poker Player||London, UK||33|
|6||Tom Dwan||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||25|
|7||Jonathan Duhamel||Professional Poker Player||Montreal, Canada||24|
|8||David Einhorn||Hedge Fund Manager||Rye, NY||43|
|9||Antonio Esfandiari||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||33|
|10||Phil Galfond||Professional Poker Player||North Potomac, Maryland||27|
|11||Bertrand Grospellier||Professional Poker Player||France||31|
|12||Philipp Gruissem||Professional Poker Player||Germany||25|
|13||Giovanni “Malibu” Guarascio||Professional Poker Player||Montreal, Canada||55|
|14||Phil Ivey||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||36|
|15||Eugene Katchalov||Professional Poker Player||New York, NY||31|
|16||Cary Katz||CEO, College Loan Corporation||Las Vegas, NV||41|
|17||Jens Kyllönen||Professional Poker Player||Finland||22|
|18||Guy Laliberté||Founder, Cirque de Soleil||Montreal, Canada||52|
|19||Ben Lamb||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||27|
|20||Tom Marchese||Professional Poker Player||Parsippanny, NJ||24|
|21||Jason Mercier||Professional Poker Player||Davie, FL||25|
|22||Michael Mizrachi||Professional Poker Player||Miami, FL||31|
|23||John Morgan||CEO, Winmark Corporation||Minneapolis, MN||71|
|24||Daniel Negreanu||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||37|
|25||Paul Newey||Chairman, New Wave Ventures||Dorset, United Kingdom||43|
|26||Chamath Palihapitiya||Venture Capitalist||Burlingame, CA||35|
|27||Bill Perkins||Owner, Small Ventures (Private Equity)||Houston, TX||43|
|28||Paul Phua||Businessman||Miri, Malaysia (Island of Borneo)||48|
|29||Brian Rast||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||30|
|30||Vivek Rajkumar||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||26|
|31||Tobias Reinkemeier||Professional Poker Player||Brighton, Germany||24|
|32||Andrew Robl||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||25|
|33||Phil Ruffin||Owner, Treasure Island Resort||Las Vegas, NV||76|
|34||Rick Salomon||Film Producer||Los Angeles, CA||44|
|35||Nick Schulman||Professional Poker Player||Manhattan, NY||27|
|36||Noah Schwartz||Professional Poker Player||Miami, FL||28|
|37||Erik Seidel||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||52|
|38||Mike Sexton||Professional Poker Player||Las Vegas, NV||64|
|39||Dan Shak||Commodities Trader||Las Vegas, NV||53|
|40||Talal Shakerchi||European Hedge Fund Manager||Surrey, United Kingdom||48|
|41||Mikhail Smirnov||Businessman/Poker Player||Moscow, Russia||39|
|42||Justin Smith||Professional Poker Player||Los Angeles, CA||24|
|43||Brandon Steven||Car Dealership Owner||Wichita, KS||38|
|44||Sam Trickett||Professional Poker Player||East Retford, United Kingdom||25|
|45||Haralabos Voulgaris||Professional Gambler||Winnipeg, Canada||37|
|46||Richard Yong||Businessman||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||54|
|47||Gus Hansen||$25,300 Mega Satellite||Copenhagen, Denmark||39|
|48||Phil Hellmuth||MGM Resorts VIP winner||Palo Alto, CA||47|
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