The 43rd annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) presented by Jack Links Beef Jerky at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas established a host of new records as poker enthusiasts from more than 100 nations traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the game’s grandest spectacle. The WSOP remained the industry standard-bearer, with 74,766 entries in 61 events creating the largest prize pool in WSOP history: $222,035,192.
The new all-time high in prize pool surpassed the previous record of $192,008,868 set last year by 15.6 percent. For the eighth consecutive year, the WSOP generated a total prize pool well in excess of $100 million; for the first time ever, it surpassed the $200 million mark. In the 43-year history of the WSOP, the prestigious tournament has now awarded more than $1.6 billion in prize money. When added to the previous total — $1,420,374,131 – this year’s massive prize pool brings the new all-time money awarded to $1,642,409,323.
Legions of amateur players competed alongside legendary poker pros, Hollywood A-listers and international sports figures to establish the new milestones. Among the notable non-poker playing names competing during this year’s WSOP include: Jason Alexander, Robert Iler, Roberto Luongo, Petter Northug, Kevin Pollak, Ray Romano, Georges St. Pierre, Jennifer Tilly and Shane Warne.
The youngest player in this year’s WSOP was Cody Teska, of New Carlisle, Ind., who turned 21 on July 1 played Day 1-C of the Main Event and continues into Day 2 with 92,000 chips. The oldest player to participate in this year’s WSOP was 92-year-old Ellen Deeb, who played Day 1-B of the Main Event, but unfortunately didn’t make it through.
“We’re still in poker’s golden age, at least when WSOP gold bracelets are on the line,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We can’t thank the players enough for their continued support of the WSOP and for once again putting a bad beat on market conditions.”
Many within the poker community speculated that participation in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship – commonly referred to as the Main Event – would dip significantly due to the ongoing global economic slowdown. Despite the weak economy, the Main Event attracted 6,598 players, placing it solidly in the top five largest tournaments ever held. The prize pool for the 2012 Main Event alone stands at $62,021,200, with the winner’s share amounting to $8,527,982.
In addition to overall prize money, the 2012 WSOP established new records for:
- Largest seniors event in history: Event #29 attracted 4,128 players, eclipsing by 10 percent the previous record of 3,752 set last year. Year-over-year event prize money was up 10 percent from last year, jumping to $3,715,200 from $3,376,800.
- Biggest single day attendance ever: 4,128 players in Event #29 ($1,000 buy-in).
- Most consecutive annual WSOPs played: Howard “Tahoe” Andrew of Walnut Creek, Calif., extended his record for most consecutive years played at the WSOP: 39.
- Most cashes at WSOP without a win: Tony Cousineau of Daytona Beach, Fla., extended his record as the player with the most cashes – 53 – without a win. He cashed four times in 2012.
- All-time Cashes and Final Tables: Phil Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (91) and final table appearances (46). He also added to his WSOP Gold Bracelet lead, winning his 12th WSOP gold bracelet in Event#18, Seven Card Razz.
A complete list of tournament records set at the 2012 WSOP below:
- Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (967 entries) – Event #8
- Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,166 entries) – Event #53
- Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3,221 entries) – Event #54
- Largest consecutive days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,939 entries) – Event #29 (4,128) and Event #31 (2,811)
- Largest three consecutive days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 9,734 entries) – Event #29/Event #31/Event#33 (4,128+2,811+2,795)
- Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (4,128 entries) – Event #29
- Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,715,200) – Event #29
- Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (4,128 entries) – Event #29
- Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (978 entries) – Event #47
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2012, the event attracted 74,766 entrants from more than 100 different countries to the Rio in Las Vegas and awarded over $222 million in prize money. In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker Europe. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit www.WSOP.com.