2018 World Series of Poker: Key Facts and Figures

2018 World Series of Poker: Key Facts and Figures

The 49th Annual World Series of Poker recently concluded at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and managed to extend a six year winning streak after its attendance record hit 123,865 entries, also marking a 2.4% improvement on the previous year. The 78-event also broke a number of other records, including its prize pool eclipsing the quarter billion dollar mark for the first time in its history, and a record 18,105 places being paid.

Historical Background

The World Series of Poker has changed enormously since just a handful of players took part in its first iteration almost half a century ago. Johnny Moss ended up winning the inaugural series after being voted “best all-around player” by his peers, despite not even winning a single poker tournament. The following year a revamped freeze-out format was then introduced in which seven poker players posted a $5,000 entry fee apiece, with “The Grand Old Man of Poker” managing to repeat the feat to retain his world champion title.

Back then, the World Series of Poker attracted little public attention or press coverage outside of Las Vegas. More events were added to the competition in 1973, though, with CBS Sports also getting in on the action by televising the Series for the very first time. By 1982, a total of thirteen events had been added to its schedule, but in 1983
satellite tournaments were introduced for the very first time, helping to give attendance an impressive boost.

Chris Moneymaker winning the 2003 Main Event captured the public’s imagination, though, providing inspiration for amateur players to emulate his achievement, whilst transforming the professional poker players of the day into celebrities. Since then, advertisers and business partners have become an important fixture of the iconic tournament series, while people travel from all corners of the globe to take part in the annual poker extravaganza.

Second Biggest Main Event

The 2018 Main Event was the second biggest ever held, with its 7,874 attendees short by just 899 players from its 2006 peak recorded at the height of the poker boom. There were also 653 players more than the previous year, and helping to explain some of the impressive increase is the proliferation of online poker satellites available through the WSOP/888 partnership across Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, as well as worldwide.

“The 2018 World Series of Poker was another big success and it’s thanks to the loyal players that make it out to Las Vegas every summer,” commented WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We love seeing the Main Event grow to numbers no one ever thought was possible in 2018 as well as positive reaction to our new events. The team will be hard at work to make sure this remains the premier poker festival in the world.”

Player Highlights

This year produced three players who won two bracelets each, although we had to wait until the last week of the Series before Shaun Deeb opened the floodgate by adding to his victory in Event #42 by taking down Event #74. He was soon followed by Joe Cada, who won Event #3 and #75, and then Justin Bonomo, who won Events Event #16 and #78.

Meanwhile, Phil Hellmuth caused his usual level of controversy at the Series, but managed to redeem himself in the public’s eyes by refunding an affected player his $10k Main Event buy-in, before going on to claim a 15th career gold bracelet at $5,000 No Limit Hold’em for $485,082.

Chris Ferguson also recorded 18 cashes this year, more than in any other year, and currently boasts a record 115 WSOP scores since his first cash back in 1995.

Finally, male participation accounted for 95.14% (111,837 entries) of the overall field compared to just 4.86% (5,717 entries) for female participation, which was down on 2017’s figure of 5.12%, although there were almost 200 less women taking part that year.

Country Highlights

The 2018 WSOP attracted players from 104 nations, which was actually down on 2015 (111), 2016 (107), and 2017 (111). The top list of countries winning bracelets this year was as follows, with their total overall earnings shown in brackets:

US: 54 ($187,417,000)
China: 3 ($3,138,292)
Germany: 3 ($12,454,810)
Canada: 2 ($7,995,246)
France: 2 ($6,217,714)
UK: 2 ($7,956,890)
Russia: 2 ($2,847,416)