WSOP 2023 Main Event Smashes 2006 Attendance Record

When WSOP Main Event broke its attendance record in 2006, everyone expected it would continue with the same trend. Unfortunately, that did not happen. It has taken the event 17 years to break its attendance record of 8,773 set in 2006.

The 2023 WSOP Main Event late registration closed on Saturday, but the figures were only released yesterday, July 9. By the time the registration closed, the event had drawn 10,043 entrants, each parting away with $10,000 to play at the Main Event.

This brought the prize pool to $93, 399,900, the largest prize pool in the WSOP Main Event history. The 2023 WSOP Main Event champion will earn $12,100,000.

WSOP Main Event Attendance History

The WSOP 2023 Main Event will go down in the history book of the event for several reasons. First, the organizers have so much to celebrate. This is because the event started small, drawing less than ten players to the Main Event.

The first WSOP Main Event was in 1971. Only six players, including Doyle Brunson, Jimmy Casella, Puggy Pearson, Johnny Moss, Jack Straus, and Sailor Roberts, participated in that event. Up until a few months ago, only Doyle was alive to narrate about the first main event ever.

It took ten years for the WSOP Main Event to draw over 100 players in 1982. With the innovation of online poker in 1998, WSOP Main Event was able to draw 350 players.

Online poker would soon become the best thing that happened to the most prestigious poker event of each year. In 2003, Chris Moneymaker, alongside 839 others, qualified for the main event for $86, to win $2.5 million a few days later. This fortuitous turn of events acted as fuel that led to the number of attendance tripling in 2004.

With 2,576 entries in 2004 and 5,619 in 2005, WSOP Main Event attracted 8,773 entries in 2006, a record it just broke in 2023. This event has crowned several legends over the years, including Brunson, Russ Hamilton, Martin Jacobson, Jamie Gold, and John Cynn, among others.

Black Friday Effect

Black Friday may sound like a good thing for most people. However, this is something the poker world wants to put behind. This is the event where the U.S. Department of Justice ended offshore poker sites' access to the American market.

This contributed to the reduced number of entries into the yearly series. The event used to attract an average of 6,000 to 7,000 entries until 2019, when the numbers reached 8,569 players.

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 halted this growth. In fact, WSOP did not host a live event that year. The online event only attracted 1,379 players.

The live event returned in 2021 in the Fall, contrary to other years when the series is scheduled for Summer. In 2022, WSOP Main Event attracted 8,663 players, jumping back on track to breaking its 2006 record.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.