Hundreds of card sharps with dreams of World Series of Poker glory have started a marathon towards poker’s richest prize – a guaranteed $10m (£5.8m) payday and a place in history among the winners of the main event.
Registration for the no-limit Texas Hold ’em main event in Las Vegas was up slightly as the first of three starting days began, with thousands more expected to start on Sunday and Monday.
“I hope that I can survive Day One,” said Michael Musich of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, whose wife rooted him on as he played his first hands. “They get tougher as it goes.”
Mr Musich played among a field with several poker legends, including 1987 and 1988 champion Johnny Chan, 2003 champ Chris Moneymaker, and Antonio Esfandiari, who won a $18.3m (£10.67m) score in 2012 in the series’ first ultra-exclusive $1m (£583,000) buy-in tournament.
From millionaire card sharks to home-game amateurs, players stake $10,000 (£5,830) each for a shot to win millions in poker’s most popular variant. The no-limit betting rules mean players can wager all their chips at any time, risking their tournament chances in the hope of gaining more chips.
Only 10 per cent of those who enter the tournament will win any money. Players compete until they bust out or win it all, like Ryan Riess, who won $8.36m (£4.87 million) at the main event last year at the age of 23.