World Series of Poker kicks off in Las Vegas

While the buy-ins didn’t come close to the $1 million fee we’ll see later this summer, the Las Vegas Strip was bustling with poker players Monday as the first official World Series of Poker gold bracelet event kicked off.

The buy-in for Monday’s tournament was $1,500, while the WSOP final table will have a record purse of more than $12 million. The WSOP runs through to July 16 with 61 events on the schedule.

The tournament has expanded this year to nearly 500 tables while hoping to make the event more viewer-friendly, promoting more interaction between the players.

“We tightened poker up so much at the table that players were afraid to use verbal strategy to out-maneuver their opponents, which has always been an integral part of poker in every single poker game dating back to the Wild West,” Tournament Director Jack Effel told reporters. “I think it takes poker back to its fundamental place and intent when it comes to strategy.”

The Big One for One Drop begins July 1 in Vegas with the final table of the 43rd annual WSOP airing live on ESPN.

Puiz Heinz won last year’s World Series of Poker, earning about $8.7 million.

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