Stan’s Lists – Biggest WSOP Fields

[SS] “In 1973,” Stan the Stat began, “Benny Binion, founder and owner of the Binion’s Horseshoe casino, said of the WSOP Main Event, ‘We had eight players last year, and this year we had 13. I look to have better than 20 next year. It’s even liable to get up to be 50, might be up to more than that. It will eventually.’1

His statements proved pretty accurate. The 1974 Main Event had only 16 players, but 1975 had 21. And his longer-term prediction came true when 52 players entered the 1982 Main Event.”

[RR] “Not exactly Pokerdamus”, Roderick the Rock countered. “Everyone expects their business to grow.”

[SS] “Still, he deserves credit for helping make it happen. What he couldn’t possibly have predicted was that the growth would continue almost steadily for three full decades. And even then, it didn’t stop. It exploded. Chris Moneymaker’s truth-is-stranger-than-fiction world championship in 2003 fueled a spectacular jump from 839 to 2,576 to 5,619 to 8,773 entrants.

Only then did the crowds finally level off, settling into the six to seven thousand-player range for the last decade.”

[RR] “Pretty healthy numbers considering that the decade included Black Friday.”

[SS] “And it’s only the Main Event that has stagnated. Fields in lower-buyin events keep setting new records even as the number of tournaments keeps rising.

  • 1980: Events 1 ($500 Seven-Card Stud), 2 ($1,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em), and 7 ($1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em) see fields of 176, 138, and 126 respectively, the first WSOP tournaments with more than 100 players.
  • 1982: The Main Event breaks the 100 mark with 104 players.
  • 1995: The $1,500 Limit Hold ‘Em event tops 500 with 560 players.
  • 2000: The Main Event passes 500 with 512 players.
  • 2004: The Main Event cruises past 1,000, 2,000, and 2,500 players with 2,576.
  • 2005: The Main Event exceeds 5,000 with 5,619 players.
  • 2015: The $565 Colossus breaks the 10,000 barrier with 14,284 players, who re-enter 8,090 times for a total of 22,374 entries.

Largest WSOP Tournaments

The biggest WSOP tournaments have all featured No Limit Hold ‘Em:

# Year Tournament Entries
1 2015 $565 Colossus 22,374
2 2016 $565 Colossus II 21,613
3 2006 $10,000 World Championship 8,773
4 2014 $1,500 Millionaire Maker 7,977
5 2014 $1,500 Monster Stack 7,862
6 2010 $10,000 World Championship 7,319
7 2015 $1,500 Millionaire Maker 7,275
8 2015 $1,500 Monster Stack 7,192
9 2016 $1,500 Millionaire Maker 7,190
10 2016 $1,500 Monster Stack2 6,927

Eight of the ten largest WSOP fields have come in the last three years.”

[RR] “I think that’s the best sign that poker is as healthy as ever. With online poker slowly coming back on a state-by-state basis, another surge could be coming in the next few years.”

[SS] “One final note. The largest non-Hold ‘Em WSOP event barely makes the top 100: the 2016 $565 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament drew an impressive 2,483 players. Pot-Limit Omaha events have reached quadruple digits six other times,3 while Pot-Limit Hold ‘Em and Limit Hold ‘Em have both done so twice.”

Footnotes:

  1. Source: Championship Table, p. 20, citing a 1973 interview with Mary Ellen Glass of the Oral History Project at the University of Nevada-Reno.
  2. { June 27, 2016 update } Field size for the 2016 Monster Stack added (by luck, it was already correctly in the tenth spot where it belonged).
  3. The previous record for an Omaha event was 1,293 players in 2015.

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