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WSOP 2006 Event #2 Overview

July 4th saw people by the hundreds lining up at the cashier's booth at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino as they hoped against hopes to be able to secure the last remaining seats to the first open event of the 2006 World Series of Poker.

Unfortunately, event #2, a $1,500 No-Limit Texas Hold'Em poker tournament, was already sold out as early as midnight. The event was capped at 2,750 participants, including more than 500 alternates as officials try to squeeze in more hopefuls in the record breaking crowd. This will be the first time in WSOP history that 11 players will be sitting per table to accommodate the demand.

"This is a record-setting crowd," said WSOP spokesperson Dave Curley. "We expected a big draw, but we don't like to make predictions. Last year we had 2,305 players (for this event), which was a record at the time. As you can see this is much bigger and we're doing everything we can to make sure any player who wants a seat, gets a seat."

"There is just such a huge demand," WSOP spokesperson Gary Thompson said. "Seating 11 players to a table is unique to the WSOP, but we're trying to accommodate the wishes of the players to buy-in. People have come from all around the world to play today."

Event #2 was late to begin due to the huge number of participants still being fitered in at the gates by 1 pm. But the mood in the Amazon room was not irate, in fact it was cheerful with the players just plain anxious to get their hands on their chips.

Even though the WSOP officially kicked off on Monday, event #2 was the first event that was open to the public as event #1 was reserved for casino employees, and one of the starters, the Tournament of Champions was invitation only.

The Tournament of Champions hailed Mike Sexton as its winner. Sexton, dubbed the'ambassador of poker' and a permanent fixture of the World Poker Tour as its commentator, won his last WSOP bracelet 17 years ago in 1989. He won the $1 million prize and split it 50/50 with his favorite charities.

Even with the knowledge that there are no more seats being offered at event #2, players still flocked to the one-table satellites, hoping to get into upcoming WSOP events at a discount. Buy-ins for one-table satellites run from $125 to $535 with the winners receiving tournament entry chips that can be used in any WSOP event with a buy in of $500 or higher.

Officials say that if the number of participants continue to grow within the series, this can possibly be the first time WSOP history that the purse will reach the $100 million mark.


08/31/2006, Thursday
Todd Sanders

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