As play concluded early Wednesday morning, 34 bracelets had been awarded at the 2011 World Series of Poker. With the passing of the halfway point, the WSOP sent out some stats regarding the composition of the players its seen through the first 29 events this summer.
To start off with the big picture, there have been 29,421 participants in the first 29 events, creating prize pools totaling $52,506,260. The average age of a WSOP participant so far has been 36 and the average age of the winners is 28. Players have come from 74 counties, 62 of which have players boasting a WSOP cash.
Given the worldwide appeal, it's impressive to see the masses flock to Las Vegas to participate, but only six countries are represented by 2011 bracelet winners. The most successful country thus far has been the United States, which has had 23 champions and 3,298 cashes that total more than $48 million in prize money. Canada ranks second with four bracelets and 238 cashes ($4.6 million in prize money), then comes the United Kingdom (three bracelet winners and 121 cashes for $4.0 million in prize money), France (two bracelet winners and 59 cashes for $1.2 million in prize money) and Russia and the Ukraine, who are each represented one WSOP champion.
Men represent 96.8 percent of all entries and one man, Tom Dwan, has entered 26 of the first 29 events to lead the WSOP in that category. The ability to play those events doesn't usually shout success and Dwan has only cashed twice so far in the $25,000 heads-up event and (not-counted in the statistic) Event 35, $5,000 pot-limit Omaha. Two players, Shaun Deeb and Kirill Rabstov, are tied at five cashes apiece and 14 players are tied behind those two with four cashes. The honor of winning the most money in the first 29 events belongs to Event 4 champ Allen Bari who edged out Event 2 champ Jake Cody by $27,402. The most successful woman is Maria Ho who finished behind Bari in Event 4 to capture the $540,020 second-place prize. She has entered 12 events.
The second half of the WSOP includes five $10,000 buy-in events (including the main event) as well as the $50,000 Player's Championship. The most successful players in those events will most likely jump to the top of the earnings list. There are also four $5,000 buy-in events which, as evidenced by Bari in Event 4, can produce huge prize pools.
After another hectic start to the week, only three events are resuming their progress on Wednesday, most notably the $5,000 six-handed pot-limit Omaha event which features a spectacular field as it enters its final day.
While the absence of Phil Ivey at the WSOP is disappointing, we also miss the presence of AJ Martino with wife - (Stack em, Stack em, Stack em to the top!) , Ian Ross, and some guy with a horse.
Event 35: Six-handed pot-limit Omaha
Only 15 players remain in this wildly aggressive event and Greg Brooks, champion of the LAPC, leads the way. The final 15 also includes notables David Chiu, the formerly retired Mike McDonald, Jason Mercier, David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Chris Moorman, Peter Jetten and Daniel Fuhs.
This is Chiu's, Mercier's and Moorman's fourth cash of the 2011 WSOP. Both Mercier and Moorman have made final tables already, but fell short. The spotlight will probably be on the third-place McDonald, who is making his first career WSOP cash after winning $2.7 million across Europe over the past three years.
Play will continue at 5:30 p.m. ET and a champion will most likely be crowned early Thursday morning and win $619,575.
Event 36: $2,500 no-limit hold 'em
The first no-limit hold 'em tournament of the week attracted another big turnout, as a field of 1,734 players dwindled to 308 after Day 1 of Event 36. Marvin Rettenmaier will enter Day 2 as the chip leader, but unlike many events at the WSOP, the start of Day 2 won't quickly bring the money bubble. Only 171 players will make the money and there will need to be 138 eliminations for the players to have a little something to celebrate. Every player that makes the money in this event will earn at least $5,207.
Dan O'Brien is hoping to become the third player this series to earn five cashes and he's in great position to do so, starting the day in second place. Dwyte Pilgrim and Gavin Smith also both hold top-15 chip stacks.
The winner of this event will earn $749,610. Tomer Berda won the event in 2010 as he defeated a larger field of 1,942 players.
Event 37: $10,000 HORSE
The HORSE World Championship began on Tuesday with 240 players in action, one player short of the 2010 turnout of 241. The slow structure during the early levels resulted in only 67 eliminations on Day 1. Ron Ware, Eugene Katchalov, Daniel Negreanu, Tom Koral, Brett Richey, Barry Greenstein and Chris Tryba were all among the top 10 in chips at the conclusion of the first day of play.
Day 1 casualties included Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Dan Shak, Jennifer Harman, Robert Williamson, Ho, Ylon Schwartz, Deeb and Andy Frankenberger.
This is one of the largest $10,000 buy-in events we've seen this summer and $609,130 will be awarded to the winner. Ten levels will be played on Wednesday.
The big picture
Two events begin on Wednesday, another $1,500 no-limit hold 'em event and a $5,000 split pot-limit Omaha/pot-limit hold 'em event. This week has provided a number of higher buy-in events that the pros have been looking for, but on the other side of the spectrum are the daily events that can also be found in the Amazon Room.
The glory at the WSOP may be found in the bracelets, but for those with smaller bankrolls, the daily "deepstack" events have been the perfect solution and attraction. The turnouts have been incredible in these events that offer buy-in levels of $135, $185 and $235. One of the biggest events of the WSOP was Sunday's 2 p.m. deepstack ($235 buy-in) which attracted a field of 1,110 players.
Besides the deepstacks, which are awarding top prizes in the five-figure range, the satellites have also been picking up. With no access to online poker, more players than ever at the Rio are actively trying to get in the bigger events for cheap. It makes sense that the WSOP made a greater effort on this front this year and the changes have paid off with a double-digit growth in participation year-over-year.
Small blinds: PokerStars announced on Wednesday the creation of the Brasil Poker Tour. There have been three stops announces for its first season. … Along with many other sites, the New York Times is reporting that actor Tobey Maguire is being demanded that he repay at least $311,200 in winnings from a private high-stakes poker game.