Consider this scenario for a player just arriving at the Rio this weekend/ First,he had to stand in line to get his Harrah's Rewards card at the desk near the World Series of Poker entrance. Then, if he didn't want to plunk down $1,500 to enter directly, he had to stand in a line for satellites that stretched out of the tournament room to try to win $1,500 in lammers to use for the buy in. If unsuccessful on his first attempt, the player would have to stand in line again for another one to two-hour wait. If he was successful, he then had to go stand in another line snaking out of a different entrance to the tournament area to buy his way into the $1,500 event. Waits in that line often exceeded an hour.
Despite these headaches, Event #49 exceeded the record for the most players ever to play a non-main event tournament at the WSOP with 3,151 entries. The Rio received 2,998 entries for the first $1,500 NLHE event on June 2, a number that may have exceeded Event #49's record if not for first-week registration snafus.
As many of the weekend warriors who came to town to play the last cheaply priced (by WSOP standards) buy-in NLHE tournament busted out, the stifling crowd started to dissipate. Players interested in playing cash games or satellites could actually get a seat in mere minutes on Saturday night. Many of the satellite players were trying to get into the $1,000 SHOE event on Sunday. (SHOE consists of seven-card stud, limit hold'em, Omaha hi-lo and seven-card stud hi-lo.)
Jeremy Schaeffer from New York, while playing a $175 satellite, said he was looking forward to the SHOE tournament, which he anticipated would draw 700 to 800 players.
"This thing today," he said of the $1,500 NLHE event, "you can forget it. It takes pure luck to beat 3,000 players. I like fields of 200-1,000."
Sunday's other event, the $10,000 buy-in world championship pot limit Omaha tournament, is likely to draw a number nearer the lower end of Schaeffer's figure.
The $1,000 NLHE event on Monday is technically cheaper than Saturday's NLHE tournament, but with rebuys and add-ons anyone who has played these tournaments knows the costs can exceed the entry into the main event.
The final bracelet events to round out the schedule prior to the main event are the $1,500 limit hold'em shootout on Tuesday and the $5,000 world championship deuce-to-seven lowball tournament on Wednesday. Both Wednesday and Thursday will feature several mega satellites as last chance for players to gain entry into the main event, which will begin on Friday.