By Dianne R. Davis
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Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis unless otherwise indicated.

A Historic Opening Week At The 2015 World Series Of Poker WSOP Began With “Colossus” – Largest Live Poker Tournament Ever at Rio LV ‘Colossus’ Becomes Largest Live Poker Tournament Ever Held with 22,374 Official Entries

46th Annual Running of the WSOP off to Record-Breaking Start

wsopRoman Centurions with players in Event 5 The Colossus 2015 World Series of Poker EV05a Day1 FU8 5653
Photo Courtesy Jayne Furman/WSOP

Play has started at the world’s largest, richest and longest-running poker tournament - The World Series of Poker (WSOP). The action kicked off  Wednesday, May 27 with the annual Casino Employees Event – a unique event bringing all Las Vegas employees together under one roof.

On Friday and Saturday May 29-30, huge crowds of poker players descended on Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino for a $565 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament that guaranteed $5,000,000 in prize money.  This was the largest live poker tournament ever held.

The World Series of Poker is the gaming industry’s premier event, each year drawing tens of thousands of poker enthusiasts from around the globe to Las Vegas to compete for millions in prize money and the game’s most coveted trophy – a World Series of Poker Champion’s Bracelet.

wsop Cord Garcia winner-photo
Cord Garcia Photo Courtesy WSOP

Colossus Event won by Cord Garcia from Texas
The Stock Market or the World Series of Poker WSOP, which one gives you a better return on your investment?  Wall Street, Small Street.  Cord Garcia, the winner of the new “Colossus” Event #5 at the WSOP will have quite the ROI -Return on Investment.  After investing $565 into the history-making event, he walks away just days later with a 1,130 times return on his investment, turning the smallest buy-in offered at the WSOP in 35 years, into a $638,880 first-place prize – and of course the most coveted trophy in poker, a WSOP gold bracelet.

Remarkably, this is the first WSOP cash of Garcia's career, and he sure made it one to remember for the family and friends that lined the gallery around the final table. Garcia has come a long way in his relatively short career. He started playing in underground games in the Houston area before he was old enough to play legally, then starting grinding the mid-stakes tournament circuit when he turned 21.

Now, as a 25- year old, he's won a record-setting tournament, and one event he more than doubled his career tournament earnings. "Definitely" Garcia said when asked if this is breakthrough moment. "It feels like it is my breakthrough, but at the same time, I feel like I am capable of doing bigger things."

Officially, WSOP Event #5 – the opening weekend event at this year’s WSOP – saw an incredible 22,374 official entrants participate, the most ever to play in one tournament in the history of live poker.  The most players previously to enter any one poker tournament was at the 2006 WSOP, when the Main Event that year attracted 8,773 players.  So, the 2015 WSOP Event #5 ‘Colossus’ now stands alone, obliterating the old record by a staggering 255%.
The total prize pool for this event is $11,187,000, with the winner’s share worth $638,880.  A record 2,241 will receive cash prizes for their participation with the minimum prize set at $1,096 for 2241st place.

“Wow,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “When you see a crowd that could fill many sports venues, there’s not much else you can say.  We want to thank everyone who traveled from near and far to be part of this historic event, particularly the first timers.  Just like the sign says, ‘We Hope You Come Back Soon’.  We love to bring poker enthusiasts together and help build positive momentum for the game.  I also want to acknowledge the thousands of event staff and volunteers who rallied together to make this weekend possible.  In putting the WSOP together, we are lucky to lean on many great people whose passion goes beyond a paycheck.”
Since this event will go down in the history books, here’s a look at records set from this never-before achieved poker tournament:
·         MOST ENTRANTS Total – 22,374
·         LARGEST PRIZE POOL Any live poker event under $5,000 buy-in -- $11,187,000
·         LARGEST 1st PLACE PRIZE For a $500 buy-in event -- $638,880
·         BEST SINGLE-DAY ATTENDANCE EVER: Saturday, May 30 – 12,172 entries May 29 becomes 2nd-largest all-time with 10,202 Break last-year’s record set opening weekend for Event#8 Millionaire Maker 7,977 entries.
·         MOST PLAYERS TO CASH: 2,241 previous record, 2006 Main Event 873
·         LARGEST RE-ENTRY EVENT: 22,374 Breaking Event #8 from 2014 WSOP, 7,977 entries
And here are some of the unique statistics from the event.
·         # of poker chips each player started with: 5,000
·         # of poker chips the winner must accumulate to win: 111,870,000 the number of total chips in play for this event
·         # of unique poker chips required to start this event: 335,610
·         # of dealers required: 982
·         # of decks of cards used: 4,480

But the 2015 WSOP isn’t done. After opening May 27, the 46th session of poker’s longest-running and richest annual gaming event continues through July14 at the Rio-All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Admission is free. Just come on down to see the action first hand.

The 46th annual WSOP concludes with the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship aka “The Main Event” . Play begins Sunday, July 5 and will reach its final table on Tuesday, July 14 at which time play will be halted until November when the final nine sit down to determine the 2015 WSOP Main
Event winner.
“What an incredible opening weekend it was,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel.  But, we’re not done.  With eleven new events on the schedule, and a special tournament planned for each weekend, we hope to see you join the thousands that have come to the Rio already in what promises to be a historic summer at the 2015 World Series of Poker.”
A slew of athletes and entertainers have participated in WSOP events this summer already, including actor James Woods reached the final table of Event#4, television host Mark Wahlberg, Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour, former MLB star Jose Canseco and international soccer player John Arne Riise.  Many more are expected to join the thousands of recreational players, amateurs, hobbyists, bucket-listers and professionals who all make up the modern-day World Series of Poker.
If opening weekend is any indication, the 2015 WSOP is picking up where the record-breaking 2014 WSOP left off.  At last year’s series, several all-time records were broken, including most entrants ever 82,360 and prize money awarded $227,712,953.

The World Series of Poker WSOP is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport's top prize.

Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker's longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970.  In 2014, the event attracted 82,360 entrants from 110 different countries to the Rio in Las Vegas and awarded over $227 million in prize money.  In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker Europe. For more information on the world series of poker, visit