2015 World Series Of Poker Opens With A 'Colossus' 22,374 Players

‘Colossus’ becomes largest live poker tournament ever held at the 2015 World Series of Poker with 22,374 official entries. The Stock Market or the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which one gives you a better return on your investment? Wall Street, Small Street. The winner of the new “Colossus” Event #5 at the WSOP will have quite the ROI.

Romans at Colossus at 2015 World Series of Poker
Romans at Colossus at 2015 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

After investing $565 into the history-making event, he/she will walk away just days later with a 1,130 times return on his/her investment, turning the smallest buy-in offered at the WSOP in 35 years, into a $638,880 first-place prize – and of course the most coveted trophy in poker, a WSOP gold bracelet.

The total prize pool for this event is $11,187,000, with the winner’s share worth $638,880. A record 2,241 will receive cash prizes for their participation, with the minimum prize set at $1,096 for 2241st place.

Officially, WSOP Event #5 – the opening weekend event at this year’s WSOP – saw an incredible 22,374 official entrants participate, the most ever to play in one tournament in the history of live poker. The most players previously to enter any one poker tournament was at the 2006 WSOP, when the Main Event that year attracted 8,773 players.

“Wow,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “When you see a crowd that could fill many sports venues, there’s not much else you can say. We want to thank everyone who traveled from near and far to be part of this historic event, particularly the first timers. Just like the sign says, ‘We Hope You Come Back Soon’. We love to bring poker enthusiasts together and help build positive momentum for the game. I also want to acknowledge the thousands of Event Staff and volunteers who rallied together to make this weekend possible. In putting the WSOP together, we are lucky to lean on many great people whose passion goes beyond a paycheck.”

So, the 2015 WSOP Event #5 ‘Colossus’ now stands alone, obliterating the old record by a staggering 255%. (Actually there were 25,571 raw, paid entries for this event, but after no-shows, voids and players who survived a flight after buying into multiple ones, the final, official number came down. But the raw number was almost three times the previous single event record for a live poker tournament.)

While Las Vegas is used to holding mega events, like the recently completed Mayweather-Pacquiao bout that drew a sold out crowd of 16,800 earlier this month, it will be the WSOP’s Colossus that stands tallest. This WSOP event compares quite favorably to the NBA off a record-breaking season of attendance averaging 17,826, while the NHL, off a strong year too with a 17,443 average.

The breakdown of entrants by flight was as follows:

  • Flight 5A: 5,173
  • Flight 5B: 5,029
  • Flight 5C: 6,283
  • Flight 5D: 5,889

Since this event will go down in the history books, here’s a look at records set from this never-before achieved poker tournament:

  • MOST ENTRANTS (Total) – 22,374
  • LARGEST PRIZE POOL (Any live poker event under $5,000 buy-in) — $11,187,000
  • LARGEST 1st PLACE PRIZE (For a $500 buy-in event) — $638,880
  • BEST SINGLE-DAY ATTENDANCE EVER: Saturday, May 30 – 12,172 entries (May 29 becomes 2nd-largest all-time with 10,202) (Break last-year’s record set opening weekend for Event#8 Millionaire Maker 7,977 entries).
  • MOST PLAYERS TO CASH: 2,241 (previous record, 2006 Main Event (873)
  • LARGEST RE-ENTRY EVENT: 22,374 (Breaking Event #8 from 2014 WSOP, 7,977 entries)

And here are some of the unique statistics from the event. (A much deeper dive should be done in 48 hours, hopefully in time for final table play).

  • # of poker chips each player started with: 5,000
  • # of poker chips the winner must accumulate to win: 111,870,000 (the number of total chips in play for this event)
  • # of unique poker chips required to start this event: 335,610
  • # of dealers required: 982
  • # of decks of cards used: 4,480

But the 2015 WSOP isn’t done. In fact it is just getting started. After opening May 27, the 46th iteration of poker’s longest-running and richest annual gaming event continues through July 14 at the Rio-All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“What an incredible opening weekend it was,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel. But, we’re not done. With 11 new events on the schedule, and a special tournament planned for each weekend, we hope to see you join the thousands that have come to the Rio already in what promises to be a historic summer at the 2015 World Series of Poker.”

A slew of athletes and entertainers have participated in WSOP events this summer already, including actor James Woods (reached the final table of Event #4), television host Mark Wahlberg, Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour, former MLB star Jose Canseco and international soccer player John Arne Riise. Many more are expected to join the thousands of recreational players, amateurs, hobbyists, bucket-listers and professionals who all make up the modern-day World Series of Poker.

If opening weekend is any indication, the 2015 WSOP is picking up where the record-breaking 2014 WSOP left off. At last year’s series, several all-time records were broken, including most entrants ever (82,360) and prize money awarded ($227,712,953). Photo: Courtesy Jayne Furman/WSOP

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Bill Cody is an entertainment, technology and luxury travel reporter in Las Vegas. He reports on celebrities, events, tech, food, Las Vegas and luxury travel.

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