With the call out to all dealers in the capacity-filled Rio Casino to ‚Äúshuffle up and deal,‚Äù the 2005 World Series of Poker finally got underway today with event #1 of 45, the $500 No-Limit Hold‚Äôem tournament exclusively for casino employees.
Tomorrow‚Äôs $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold‚Äôem tournament will be the first event open to the public, with a likely 2000 players gunning to win the title Scott Fischman captured in 2004, along with his $300,000 first place prize. Imagine, he only had to beat out a mere 831 entries then. With a projected $3,000,000 total purse on the line tomorrow–more than double last year‚Äôs–and around three quarters of a million going to first, the competition for early events like this at the 2005 WSOP will be fiercer than ever.
Harrah‚Äôs, which now owns the WSOP property, announced today that it expects 75 million in total prize money this year and more than 15,000 registrations, easily topping last year‚Äôs mark of 13,000. For the main event, the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold‚Äôem tournament starting July 7, Harrah‚Äôs anticipates more than 4,000 registrants, up from last year‚Äôs 2,576, and many expect the number to hit 6,600 players, which is the max capacity for the Rio.
On this year’s WSOP. Gary Thompson, the tournament’s director of communications, offered this analogy: "For a baseball fan, it’s like stepping into the batter’s box against Roger Clemens and knowing that, if you can hit his fastball, you can walk away with millions of dollars."
As for predictions on who will be walking away the champ in 2005 . . .
Well, we’re not ready to make any yet. That’s coming soon, but I’ll say that we’re split at the Wicked Chops office with some of us expecting a relative no name to win while a few of us think this is the year for a top pro to recapture the WSOP bracelet. But to be sure, none of us have money on Raymer repeating.
Speaking of which, do you know how many players have won the main event more than once and how many have done so back-to-back? You might be surprised by the correlation between the two. If you know the answer go ahead and hit ‚Äúcomments‚Äù and post it.
That’s it for now. We‚Äôll keep you posted on Friday‚Äôs event, which will play tomorrow until it completes 12 levels or is down to a final table, which ever comes first. The remainder will wrap up on Saturday, June 4, which is also when the $1,500 buy-in PL Hold‚Äôem tournament gets underway.