40th WSOP Main Event Starts TodayJuly 4, 2009 6:31 am
Today more than 1,100 poker players, celebrities and enthusiasts, having paid out the $10,000 entry fee, take their seats at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino hoping to be crowned the 40th WSOP main event champion.
Last year,it was Peter Eastgate who beat a field of 6,844 players to take the crown as well as $9.15 million in prize money. In so doing, at 22 years of age he became the youngest player to earn the title, beating Phil Helmuths previous record at 24.
The players could buy in up to 6 hours after the tournament started and for the next three days over which the tournament is split.This years tournament turn out seems to be on a similar par to last years where there were 1,297 entries on day one.
The biggest and most prestigious tournament of the Poker calendar will last over 3 months, whereby after the field has been whittled down to 9 players, which will be around July 15th, there will be a recess until November 7th when these players will take their places at the final table.The tournament will likely conclude around the 10th November.
Celebrities attracted to this years WSOP include former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser, Actor Jason Alexander, rapper Nelly, actress Jennifer Tilly and actor Brad Garrett. However, amateurs always represent a large proportion of the field and have won the title every year since 2002.They also account for 15 of the 39 winners so far.
Hector Contreras, a truck driver from Hollywood, is hopeful of his chances of success and said;
“This is the highlight of all poker tournaments. This is the one everyone wants to win just for the (gold) bracelet. It’s not even so much about the money as it is about winning that bracelet. To get that bracelet you get a taste of immortality.”
However, Raphael Zimmerman is one amateur who will have to wait another year for his shot at the title after being the first player out of the competition in 6 minutes when his opened ended straight failed to improve to his opponents three Queens.