What to Expect from the WSOP 2022 Main Event: Will the 2006 Record Be Broken?
Last Updated: February 2, 2023
More than two weeks have passed since the first “shuffle up and deal” of this year’s World Series of Poker, and dozens of new champions have already been named.
Big names like Scott Seiver and Brian Hastings added further silverware to their collections, while several previously unknown poker players have won the first bracelets of their careers.
With the halfway point of the WSOP now behind us, all eyes are set on the biggest event of the summer; the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, also known as the Main Event.
Many analysts are predicting this to be the biggest Main Event in recent history, and perhaps the biggest of all time, with the current Series breaking all kinds of records already.
But before we talk about the Main, let’s take a look at how the 2022 WSOP has looked so far and what’s happened in Vegas up to this point.
Amazing Start at the New Venue
The 2021 WSOP was the last one hosted by the iconic Rio, and the people in charge announced that it would be moving to a new, more central location this year.
Months before the summer came around, Paris and Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip started preparing for the festival, putting together the largest poker rooms ever seen.
While the WSOP happening on the Strip was exciting for most, the change of venue also came with fears that the logistical side of things would be a nightmare.
As we entered the month of June, players and media alike feared that the registration and bathroom lines would be too long, that parking spots would be scarce, and that the first WSOP at the new venue would be an overall fiasco.
And yet, the truth was the complete opposite, with Paris and Bally’s offering an improvement over the Rio in almost every way imaginable.
The lines are no longer than they always were, and aside from massive events with thousands of runners, things are running quite smoothly for the most part.
The tournaments themselves are running like clockwork. The staff seems to know exactly what they are doing, and the dealers are perhaps better trained than ever in the past.
Players seem to be content with the new situation, as reports of Rio being a complete dump away from the poker tables were circling the poker world for years, and no such reports have been filed regarding the new venue.
So far, the poker community has nothing but praise for Bally’s.
The organizers have done a great job of transitioning poker’s biggest tournament festival to a new place in a completely seamless fashion and simply made it bigger and better than ever before.
Tons of Action in Opening Weeks
The WSOP has always been an action-packed poker festival, but this year has been even more exciting than the past ones.
The tournament schedule for the Series has been updated with some new events, especially in the high-roller streets, with several new massive buy-ins added to the list.
The $100,000 event with bounties was especially exciting, and the reemergence of Phil Ivey in that event set a great tone for the rest of the summer.
Thousands of fans were exhilarated to see their favorite player was back at the WSOP.
The presence of all the big-name players, the central location on the Strip, and the rich schedule with dozens of events all ensured that players came out to the Series in the thousands.
A number of lower-stakes events have already broken their personal records from previous years, with Mike Jukich winning nearly a million dollars in the $1,500 Monster Stack and many similar events still scheduled to kick off in the coming days.
Things are getting even more heated as the Series as the Main Event comes around the horizon, with many new players expected to come to Vegas as the biggest tournament of the summer gets closer.
What to Expect from the Main Event
The WSOP Main Event has been considered the biggest poker tournament of the year for the longest time, and with good reason.
The huge starting stack, the 120-minute levels, and the number of recreational players playing for $10,000 each make the Main Event the juiciest and perhaps the most entertaining $10k you could possibly enter.
The prestige of winning the Main Event and being named the NLH World Champion makes this tournament unique in the poker world.
This is why every poker pro out there will be looking to jump in and try to put their name in the history poker books.
Of course, winning the Main Event is very difficult, mostly because of the ridiculous number of players that show up to play this $10k.
While an average tournament with this buy-in usually brings together a few hundred players, we have not seen the Main Event have fewer than 5,000 runners since 2005.
The only exception was 2020, when the pandemic made things very difficult for the poker world.
The 2006 Main Event set the record with 8,773 runners and Jamie Gold being named champion. The 2019 Main came very close with 8,569 runners but fell just short.
As the entire poker world expected what would happen in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything and pushed things back more than we knew possible.
Yet, with the WSOP now back in full swing and the fields as big as ever, there is a positive hype surrounding the Main Event.
We may just see the 2006 record broken this time around.
Granted, it would take nearly 9,000 people playing in this year’s Main Event to break that record, but Bally’s and Paris seem intent on making this Series a very special one.
The recent downswings in the crypto and other trading markets may cause a problem for many recreational and pro players alike, but most who planned on playing the Main this year should still come out.
What’s more, online qualifiers are guaranteed to come out in strong numbers, which means we will see hundreds if not thousands of players come to Vegas with a guaranteed Main Event seat.
The WSOP will also be running countless satellite tournaments at the location, and with more tables available than ever before, we may just see more players qualify for the Main Event through live qualifiers than ever before.
At the end of the day, Jamie Gold’s Main Event may keep the record, but we certainly expect that the first Bally’s Main Event will come very close.
How Will the Final Table Look?
There was once a time when every name on the final table of the Main Event was a famous poker player known throughout the community.
This has changed as the numbers started to surge, but recent years have seen a reemergence of poker pros in the Main Event, many of whom have made very deep runs in the tournament.
The reigning champion Koray Aldemir is a well-known high-roller who has had years of tournament experience behind him, and he is not the only one.
Final tables of the Main Event in recent years have seen at least several solid pros play it out for the title, and this year should be no exception.
We can expect hundreds of amazing tournament pros in action in the Main Event, and many of them are guaranteed to make a deep run at it.
Having a few big names at the final table would be amazing, but even one major player getting to the final nine would be a dream come true for the poker fans.
As always, the poker world will be rooting for its champions, such as Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth, but hundreds of others will have the support of thousands of fans watching via PokerGO.
The number of former champions and final tablists is also growing by the year, which makes a repeat performance more likely each time the event comes around.
In an ideal world, we would love to see at least one player make their second Main Event final table while seeing someone win the whole thing for the second time in their life would be even more spectacular.
The one thing that’s guaranteed is that we will have a few big names to follow as the Main Event reaches its final days, along with a number of interesting player stories that this tournament never fails to produce.
The Biggest Show in Poker is Coming!
The 2022 WSOP Main Event starts on July 3, with further day one flights planned for July 4, 5, and 6. If you are looking to play in the Main, these are the dates you will need to be in Las Vegas.
Each of the starting days should be massive, but those looking for the biggest turnout of the recreational players will probably wait it out until Flight D on July 6.
The tournament that promises to be a true spectacle this year is right around the corner now.
If you are looking for your chance to play with some of the biggest names in poker as well as plenty of soft rec players, this is your chance.
The online and live qualifiers have been running for months now, and there is still time to win your seat in what could potentially be the biggest WSOP Main Event to date.
Whether you are looking to play or simply watch the Main Event on PokerGO, you should make sure to mark the dates in your calendar and be ready for the most anticipated poker event of the year kicking off in just a few days!