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World Series of Poker $50,000 Buy-In Poker Players Championship Sees Lowest Turnout In Its History

2015 Event Draws 84 Players, Down From 148-Player High


The 2015 running of the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship closed registration early this week with 84 entrants, the fewest in the event’s nine-year history. The posted first place prize of $1,270,086 was also the smallest ever for the tournament.

In 2010, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E became the Poker Players Championship and expanded to eight games: limit deuce-to-seven triple draw lowball, limit hold’em, limit Omaha eight-or-better, razz, seven-card stud, seven-card stud eight-or-better, no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha. It is worth noting that in 2010 and 2011 the final table was no-limit hold’em exclusively. From 2012 to 2014, the eight-game was played at the final table, as the event was no longer televised.

This year, the World Series of Poker elected to add two games to the mix—badugi and no-limit deuce-to-seven draw lowball. The decision drew mixed reactions from poker’s high rollers, with many pointing out that badugi isn’t a game people are accustomed to playing in tournaments.

“There has never been a badugi bracelet, yet it gets put in into the $50,000; bad call,” said Max Pescatori, who has won two bracelets so far this summer.

“Badugi-based games are a large part of the modern mix,” bracelet winner Randy Ohel said. “Has to be represented.” Fellow high-stakes cash game grinder Jesse Martin disagreed with Ohel, though.

“I pray this doesn’t turn into even more games next year,” Martin said. “Too many games ruins rhythm—and I play them all.” Hedge fund manager and poker semi-pro Dan Shak said the 10-game “seriously will put most non-cash game [regulars] on the fence of playing.” Shak said he was “50/50” on playing. He ended up buying into the event.

Brian Rast, who won the event in 2011, said that badugi shouldn’t have been added, and he would rather be playing pot-limit Omaha hi-low eight-or-better.

Card Player had the chance to speak to Michael Mizrachi, a two-time champion of the event.

Matt Glantz, who entered the event and is chasing his first career bracelet, said that the format change is actually a “small part of why the attendance will be down.” If one looks at the $10,000 buy-ins so far this summer, attendance has been down across the board, according to Ohel. Glantz told Card Player that it’s “definitely not” the cash game action that has kept players away from the $50,000 buy-in. He said that the poker economy is down, but also that “excitement” for the 2015 WSOP wasn’t as high as it has been in years past for high rollers.

Despite participation by high rollers being down, 59,395 total entries were tallied by the WSOP though the 34th event of the summer, up 48 percent compared to 2014. The 46th running of the WSOP, which has 68 bracelet events, will be the largest ever.

Here’s a look at the $50,000 buy-in attendance over the years:

2006: 143
2007: 148
2008: 148
2009: 95
2010: 116
2011: 128
2012: 108
2013: 132
2014: 102
2015: 84

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2015 WSOP landing page, complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.



7 years ago

If i were a high roller I would not waste my money and time playing 83 other high rollers. Why join a battle where all the warriors are super warriors.
I would instead sit at a cash game of 10/25 or 25/50 no limit or pot limit where all the players will not be high rollers and where some of the players might be intimidated to call some high bluff bets. Better off joining a battle where some of the warriors are in training.


7 years ago

LOL warriors? They are just a bunch of gamblers so please do not confuse them with people who make a difference in this world. You insult those people with your silly warrior notion.


7 years ago

"He said that the poker economy is down, but also that “excitement” for the 2015 WSOP wasn’t as high as it has been in years past for high rollers."


And yet 4,100 Seniors and 1,500 Super Seniors took part in their two tournaments in the past week. We were excited - as were the 7100 players in the Monster Stack so kudos to WSOP for seeing that the poker world is largely composed of recreational players who want a WSOP that they feel part of. We don't come to watch - we come to play.