The WSOP Main Event at a Glance: Numbers Down (So Far), Players Enthusiastic

Wannabe kings and queens of the felt have descended en masse in Las Vegas for the WSOP Main Event and, while numbers are down from previous years, the excitement and good vibes coming from the Rio are reaching people throughout the world through Twitter.

Tom McCabe

Tom McCabe, a self-described poker junkie, bagged 141K on his Day 1. (Image: Twitter/mccabe1101)

Two more starting days were added to the schedule to give players in Europe and elsewhere a chance to take advantage of relaxed Covid related travel restrictions. Those who hustle to Vegas for Days 1E and 1F of the Main Event could help the numbers swell toward pre-pandemic levels.

Small fields aren’t uncommon in the Main Event’s first days

With 2,550 players playing on Sunday (Day 1D), the Main Event is starting to feel like, well, the Main Event. So far, 4,518 players have entered since Thursday’s Day 1A. Historically, Sunday’s number compares with previous Day 1D’s at the WSOP. Generally speaking, the closer we get to the start of the Day 2 flights, the larger the starting fields. 

Days 1A, 1B, and 1C of this year’s Main Event attracted 523, 854, and 600 players, respectively. Those numbers are significantly smaller than we saw in 2019, where that year’s WSOP featured just three Day 1 starting flights. In 2019, Days 1A, 1B, and 1C attracted 1,335, 1,915, and 4,877, respectively for a total field of 8,569 that generated a prize pool of $80.5 million.


2021 WSOP Main Event Day 1 flights by the numbers

With four Day 1 flights of the 2021 Main Event in the books, 4,518 players have anted up so far this year for their shots at poker glory. That’s more than 50% of the total entrants (8,569) in the last live Main Event in 2019, and with two flights left to play before the start of Day 2B, there appears to be a good chance that the WSOP will come close to matching that mark again this year.

WSOP Main Event Day 1 Flight Registrations – 2021 vs. 2019
2021 2019
Day 1A 523 1.335
Day 1B 854 1,915
Day 1C 600 4,877
Day 1D 2,550 X
Day 1E ? X
Day 1F ? X

Day 1E is scheduled for today while Day 1F will take flight on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday is the start of Day 2A, which will see the return of the 2,890 players who bagged chips in the Day 1A, B, and D flights. Most of those players played in Day 1D (1,939). Wednesday is Day 2 for those who made it through Days 1C, E, and F. Thursday will mark the start of Day 3, which will be the first time that all of the remaining players in the Main Event are in the building at the same time. 

A glimpse through the player’s eyes

Fortunately for poker fans, many players aren’t shy about sharing their experiences at the WSOP once they’ve settled into the action at the Rio. From players with “real” jobs, like pharmacist Stephanie Rivkin, to poker pros and “celebs” like Melanie Weisner, many love to tell their stories on social media. 

Jim McManus, author of “Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion’s World Series of Poker,” which is partly about his run to fifth place in the 2000 Main Event, got a poker fantasy camp seat draw on Day 1A. 

Yep, that’s Doyle Brunson, who made his WSOP premiere in the Super Seniors event last week. Both gentlemen made it through to Day 2: Brunson bagged 151K and McManus survived his day with 54K chips (the starting stack is 60K). Meanwhile, Amanda Botfeld and her father made it to the final table of the tag-team event. They’re both still smiling as Amanda tries for the Big One.

Here’s another father and child dream come true: Lucas “RobinPoker” Robinson is thrilled to be playing in the Main Event with his old man. They both made it to Day 2, with Lucas bagging 141K and his dad, Pete with 101K.

And look who poker and pool player Dana Dahms found in the Rio’s hallway. Cheers fellas!

Poker pro and vlogger didn’t hang out with anyone as famous as Scotty Nguyen while roaming in the Rio, but he did spot this very good boy hanging out and enjoying the action. 

And, where else but on Twitter can you find poker champions playing for bracelets in their hotel rooms while watching poker on their phones? Indeed, the grind never stops for Josh Arieh, who won his second bracelet of this year’s WSOP last week in the $10K PLO Hi-Lo event.

Tsugunari Toma, a poker pro from Osaka, Japan, who is sponsored by Sponichi, a sports newspaper there, shared a big hand with his followers. No translation needed:

Stephanie Rivkin, who finished eighth in the 2019 Ladies event, wasn’t even planning on playing in the Main Event, but that all changed last week from her living room in New Jersey:

And you can almost feel the excitement and hope pouring out of the many Tweets featuring some of the sexiest WSOP pics online: Chip stacks. From three-time WSOP bracelet holder David “Bakes” Baker: 

Amateur Tom McCabe sharing his nice stack after the end of Day 1:

And sometimes we even find poetry among the Tweets. Here’s a good one from amateur Ray Chiu.

Written by
Bob Pajich
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn't like.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Other Articles Of Interest


Did you know about our poker forum?

Discuss all the latest poker news in the CardsChat forum