The World Series of Poker (WSOP) set a new attendance record last week when it fielded more than 10,000 players for professional poker’s biggest event at Binion’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. With a total of 10,043 players competing for the big prize, the 2023 WSOP shattered the previous player record of 8,773, which was set during the halcyon days of the poker boom back in 2006.
WSOP organizers began hyping their new attendance record last Thursday when it was clear that the record would be broken. On that day, they hit 9,000 registrations; with registration still open for another 48 hours. Between Thursday and Saturday, another 1,000 or so players showed up with the requisite $10,000 buy-in for a seat in the tournament. To celebrate its new milestone, the WSOP held a drawing for a grand prize of 30 years worth of WSOP buy-ins for one lucky player.
It’s a nearly immutable law of poker that most players will walk away with nothing and will lose every penny of that of $10,000 buy-in. In this year’s WSOP, the top 1,507 players split pieces of a $93.4 million pot with $12.1 million. That outpaces the previous record pot of $12 million, which was set back in 2006.
“This is a colossal day not only in the history of the WSOP but for poker itself. It’s particularly special to make history in our first year at the new Horseshoe Las Vegas. I think today is a huge testament to the passion of the entire poker community who rallies around this event every year. We’re hoping this record is short-lived and we’ll be ready for another monster turnout next summer,” WSOP Senior Vice President and Executive Director Ty Stewart said in a statement reported on by News 3 in Las Vegas.
Whether or not professional poker’s big day will spur another online poker boom is still the subject of debate. Online poker has been struggling in most states where its legal, and has been largely eclipsed by the tidal wave of regulated sports betting in US states.