It's that time of year again, with the poker world's biggest annual event getting underway in Las Vegas with the kick-off of the $10,000 buy-in Main Event.
All eyes are on Las Vegas to see which poker player will emerge as the unofficial world champion and take down a top prize of over $8.5 million.
The 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event drew a field of 6,598 players, which was down slightly from the 6,865 that played in 2011 but still a very solid turnout, generating a total prizepool of just over $62 million that will be divided among the top finishers.
With poker events still facing economic headwinds and hundreds of millions of dollars of former Full Tilt customers still held in limbo, drawing nearly 6,600 runners is an impressive result for the WSOP Main Event, with Seth Palansky of the WSOP having the following to say:
"It's a remarkable turnout for this year's WSOP main event and the 43rd annual WSOP overall. We appreciate the poker players continuing to support the World Series of Poker and can't wait to meet our October Nine."
The 2012 Main Event will run through July 16, which is when the final table of nine players will be set, with action pausing for several months before the conclusion and winner is determined. Typically called the "Novemember Nine", the conclusion of the 2012 WSOP was pushed up to late October this year in order to avoid conflicting with the US Presidential election.
Defending champ Pius Heinz is still alive and has moved on to Day 3, joined by other past Main Event champs such as Peter Eastgate, Robert Varkonyi, Jerry Yang, and Dan Harrington. Some popular fan favorites are also alive and flush with chips including Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, and Shaun Deeb.
The 2012 WSOP has been a great showing for female players, with Selbst winning a bracelet in an open field event and Allyn Jaffrey Shulman winning one for the ladies in the Seniors event as well.