Dropping Like Chandeliers

The WSOP Main Event has made it into the money on Day 3 since 2015. In 2014, play stopped on Day 3 just short of the money (2014 was the last year just 10% of the field was paid). Despite that, a number of people with far more experience than myself with the Main Event were predicting the tournament wouldn’t hit the money until early in Day 4. Not the folks behind the Vegas-Poker-Schedule.com site, or me (in the Day 3 PNW player roundup.

Another “truism” I heard a lot of in the post-bubble analysis was that action was moving at a hitherto-unseen speed as action approached the bubble. Was that true? I charted out the number of players (combining Day 1s and Day 2s) as a percentage of the total number of entries.

I wasn’t in the room, so I can’t attest to the feel of things, but even with the larger field this year—the 2nd largest in WSOP Main Event history—fewer people busted on Day 3 this year than in 2018. As a percentage of the players entering the day, more people finished Day than than stated it than in any year from 2014 to 2018.

You can see above that Day 1 used to be a lot harder to get through with less than 70% of the field entering Day 2. This year looks a bit harder than the past three years (which are almost even), but when you add in the 350 or so players who entered Day 2 directly, it’s about the same (near 75% of the total entries).

All in all, it looks like the adjustments made to the structure to accommodate the increase of chips for the 50th edition of the Main Event have maintained the balance that allows the staff to dial in things like getting to the bubble without hours of hand-for-hand play.