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Review: The 2016 WSOP

Every May the brightest stars and the most optimistic hopefuls in the world of poker descend on the gambling capital of America in Las Vegas to pit their skills against each other in the World Series of Poker. Since the very first World Series was held in 1970 in the Horseshoe Casino it’s a tournament that has steadily gained both importance and prestige in the poker world.

Not surprisingly, the potential rewards are huge – and the more people who enter, the greater the prizes will be.  In this year’s WSOP, sponsored by 888poker, the total number of entrants was 107,833 – only the second time it has ever exceeded 100,000 –  and this meant a correspondingly high prize pot of $221,211,336.

In the Main Event there was a starting field of 6,737 players which was the highest number for five years and, at the end of the first phase of the tournament which ended on July 18th, this number was whittled down to just 9 players. Led by New Yorker Cliff Josephy they will reconvene in late October, once again at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino to compete for the $8 million grand prize.

This has also been a year which has seen a great number of records being broken. For example 15,767 players received prize money with the average first prize pay out being $555,475. There was also the largest single prize for a $500 dollar buy-in event when Ben Keeline won $1 million in the Colossus II event. The Colossus II also saw the highest ever number of paid-out places in a single event, clocking up 3,245.

In terms of individual winners, the player who achieved the highest number of cashes in a summer was Roland Israelashvili who notched up a lucky 13. Three players joined the $5 million lifetime winnings club this year, Brian Rast, Fedor Holz and and Dan Smith and both Rast and Holz won the coveted WSOP bracelets. Meanwhile the 2009 Main Event winner Joe Cada became the 10th winner in history to notch up $10 million in World Series winnings.

To prove that there’s more to life than poker, the tournament’s Player of the Year Jason Mercier chose the surroundings of the Rio to go down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend Natasha Barbour.  She already had plenty to smile about, having come third in the $5,000 no limit hold’em event winning a very useful $348,374.

Following on from all the successes of this year’s event, interest and excitement is already growing about the 2017 series. One of the great things about WSOP is that anyone can qualify if they do well in the right tournaments leading up to is. So why not think about it yourself. After all, don’t everyone’s dreams about winning a coveted WSOP bracelet have to start somewhere?