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Everything You Need to Know About the World Series of Poker Main Event

Today Is the Day: 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event Gets Underway

The most hopeful day on the poker calendar has arrived!

Today, the first of three starting flights in the 2019 World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event will get underway at noon local time. Players from around the world will compete for the most coveted title in the game. Anyone with the $10,000 buy-in and a dream could potentially win!

The most hopeful day on the poker calendar has arrived!

All four tournament rooms – the Amazon, Brasilia, Miranda, and Pavilion – will soon be packed with thousands of people; from fans to dealers; and amateurs to poker pros. First timers will compete against legends like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, and reigning champion John Cynn.

This year is particularly special as it’s the 50th Annual WSOP.

While today marks the first opportunity for players to jump into the action, there will be more over the coming days. Days 1b and 1c will take place at noon on Thursday and Friday respectively, while players also have the option of late registering as long as signed up before the start of either Day 2 flight (11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.)

Last year, the 49th Annual WSOP Main Event was the culmination of a record 78 bracelet events. The Main Event attracted 7,874 players, which made it the second-largest turnout in tournament history behind 2006’s 8,773 players. John Cynn ultimately came out on top in the longest heads-up battle in WSOP history to capture an $8.8 million first-place prize.

More than 7,000 players are expected to participate in the Main Event, while some experts believe it could even cross the 8,000-mark. Early numbers from the 2019 WSOP indicate that it’s possible. Through 66 events, this year's WSOP shattered the attendance record as 147,334 entrants have played in WSOP gold bracelet events.

In fact, through 66 events, this year’s participation exceeded the first 36 years of the WSOP combined; 147,334 entries from 602 events in 1970-2005 totaled 125,628 entries.


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Day 1a Tournament Structure

At noon, players start with 60,000 in chips. Levels are 120 minutes long throughout with five levels on the schedule for Day 1a. After every level, players have a 20-minute break. The dinner break, 75 minutes long, takes place 85 minutes into Level 2, around 3:45 p.m. to accommodate the live broadcast.

Late registration for this event is open until the start of play on Day 2. Day 1a is expected to wrap up fifteen minutes past midnight.

LevelEstimated StartDurationSmall BlindBig BlindBig Blind Ante
112:00 p.m.120 minutes100200200
 2:00 p.m.20-minute break   
22:20 p.m.85 minutes200300300
 3:45 p.m.75-minute dinner break   
 5:00 p.m.35 minutes200300300
35:35 p.m.120 minutes200400400
 7:35 p.m.20-minute break   
47:55 p.m.120 minutes300500500
 9:55 p.m.20-minute break   
510:15 p.m.120 minutes300600600

Players to survive today's Day 1a return to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Saturday, July 6, 2018, to play another five levels on Day 2ab PokerNews will be there the entire day with live updates from around the convention center of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

You can follow along with the 2019 World Series of Poker until a winner is crowned, right here on PokerNews.com. We have dozens of reporters on the ground in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to cover every important pot played in the Main Event. Go to the 2019 WSOP Main Event Live Reporting section for WSOP Live Updates.

2019 WSOP Brasilia Tournament Room
The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino will be packed with poker players for the 2019 WSOP Main Event

World Series of Poker History

The World Series of Poker began as an idea hatched in Texas gambler Benny Binion’s mind to promote his casino.

In 1970, a small group of Texas rounders gathered at Binion’s for ten days playing for high stakes in games like five-card draw, 2-7 lowball, seven-card stud, razz, and no-limit hold’em. Players voted on the winner at the end of the gathering; Texan and future Poker Hall of Fame member Johnny Moss was honored as the best.


Johnny Moss, Becky Binion, and Puggy Pearson (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

By 1972, no-limit hold’em became the premier game and the $10,000 buy-in tournament that players now know as the WSOP Main Event was introduced.

The World Series of Poker has grown to enormous proportions with numerous preliminary events. The championship bracelet, introduced by Binion in 1976, has become the ultimate trophy in poker. Owning one or more has become the litmus test for poker greatness. The series has even expanded beyond Las Vegas with numerous circuit and bracelet events around the country and the world.

For an in-depth look at the WSOP's history, check out this five-part series by Martin Harris:

Binion surely couldn’t have imagined the reach that the game would get since his showcase began in 1970. The World Series of Poker is the largest, richest, and most prestigious gaming event in the world.

Here's a look at all the winners since the tournament's inception: Clicking the year will lead you to PokerNews Live Reporting of the event, clicking the winner's name takes you to the PokerNews final table recap of the event.

YearEntriesChampionCountry Winning HandPrize
19707Johnny MossUnited States --
19716Johnny MossUnited States -$30,000
19728Thomas "Amarillo Slim" PrestonUnited States {k-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}$80,000
197313Walter "Puggy" PearsonUnited States {a-Spades}{7-Spades}$130,000
197416Johnny MossUnited States {3-Hearts}{3-Spades}$160,000
197521Brian "Sailor" RobertsUnited States {j-Spades}{j-Hearts}$210,000
197622Doyle BrunsonUnited States {10-Spades}{2-Spades}$220,000
197734Doyle BrunsonUnited States {10-Spades}{2-Hearts}$340,000
197842Bobby BaldwinUnited States {q-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}$210,000
197954Hal FowlerUnited States {7-Spades}{6-Diamonds}$270,000
198073Stu UngarUnited States {5-Spades}{4-Spades}$385,000
198175Stu UngarUnited States {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts}$375,000
1982104Jack StrausUnited States {a-Hearts}{10-Spades}$520,000
1983108Tom McEvoyUnited States {q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}$540,000
1984132Jack KellerUnited States {10-Hearts}{10-Spades}$660,000
1985140Bill SmithUnited States {3-Spades}{3-Hearts}$700,000
1986141Berry JohnstonUnited States {a-Spades}{10-Hearts}$570,000
1987152Johnny ChanUnited States(born in China){a-Spades}{9-Clubs}$625,000
1988167Johnny ChanUnited States(born in China){j-Clubs}{9-Clubs}$700,000
1989178Phil HellmuthUnited States {9-Spades}{9-Clubs}$755,000
1990194Mansour MatloubiIran {6-Hearts}{6-Spades}$895,000
1991215Brad DaughertyUnited States {k-Spades}{j-Spades}$1,000,000
1992201Hamid DastmalchiIran {8-Hearts}{4-Clubs}$1,000,000
1993220Jim BechtelUnited States {j-Spades}{6-Spades}$1,000,000
1994268Russ HamiltonUnited States {k-Spades}{8-Hearts}$1,000,000
1995273Dan HarringtonUnited States {9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}$1,000,000
1996295Huck SeedUnited States {9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}$1,000,000
1997312Stu UngarUnited States {a-Hearts}{4-Clubs}$1,000,000
1998350Scotty NguyenUnited States(born in Vietnam){j-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}$1,000,000
1999393Noel FurlongIreland {5-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}$1,000,000
2000512Chris FergusonUnited States {a-Spades}{9-Clubs}$1,500,000
2001613Carlos MortensenSpain(born in Ecuador){k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}$1,500,000
2002631Robert VarkonyiUnited States {q-Diamonds}{10-Spades}$2,000,000
2003839Chris MoneymakerUnited States {5-Diamonds}{4-Spades}$2,500,000
20042,576Greg RaymerUnited States {8-Spades}{8-Diamonds}$5,000,000
20055,619Joe HachemAustralia {7-Clubs}{3-Spades}$7,500,000
20068,773Jamie GoldUnited States {q-Spades}{9-Clubs}$12,000,000
20076,358Jerry YangUnited States(born in Laos){8-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}$8,250,000
20086,844Peter EastgateDenmark {a-Diamonds}{5-Spades}$9,152,416
20096,494Joe CadaUnited States {9-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}$8,547,042
20107,319Jonathan DuhamelCanada {a-Spades}{j-Hearts}$8,944,310
20116,865Pius HeinzGermany {a-Spades}{k-Clubs}$8,715,638
20126,598Greg MersonUnited States {k-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}$8,531,853
20136,352Ryan RiessUnited States {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}$8,361,570
20146,683Martin JacobsonSweden {10-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}$10,000,000
20156,420Joe McKeehenUnited States {a-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}$7,683,346
20166,737Qui NguyenUnited States(born in Vietnam){k-Clubs}{10-Clubs}$8,005,310
20177,221Scott BlumsteinUnited States {a-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}$8,150,000
20187,874John CynnUnited States {k-Clubs}{j-Clubs}$8,800,000
Main Event Champion John Cynn
John Cynn beat a field of 7,874 entries last year to take home the top prize of $8,800,000
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  • Day 1a of the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event starts at noon local time

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