Nine remaining in record-setting Millionaire Maker

wsop 2014

The Millionaire Maker is rapidly becoming one of the best-known events at the World Series of Poker, alongside the Main Event and the Big One for One Drop. It is, in a sense, the opposite of the One Drop, featuring a relatively low (by WSOP standards) buy-in of $1500 and a guarantee of at least $1 million to the first-place finisher.

That guarantee means that a huge field is inevitable, and this year’s was the biggest yet, with 7,977 entrants packing the Rio over the course of the tournament’s two starting days. It’s very rare to see numbers like that outside online poker. The only larger field in WSOP history was the 2006 Main Event.

From all those entries, however, only 9 players remain, and the stakes they’re playing for are incredible. Many $1500 tournaments don’t even pay out six figures for first, yet here, the last three people to bust yesterday have all won a cool $100k, while those who’ve made the final table will get at least $128k. Meanwhile, the prize for first has far exceeded the guarantee: one lucky player is going to walk away with $1,319,587.

The most likely candidate for that prize is Stephen Graner, who holds a one of the most commanding chip leads you’re likely to see at this stage of a tournament. At 12 million chips, he’s got about a 2.5-1 advantage over his closest competitor, James Duke (4.65 million) and around 30% of the total chips in play. He could double up any two of his opponents and still have an average stack left! In short, this is a man who is loving life at the moment, especially given that his previous best cash to date, earlier this year, was for a comparatively trifling $65,840.

Play will resume at 2 PM Las Vegas time today, with a live stream of the final table (with commentary and hole cards) being aired on WSOP.com on a 30-minute delay.

Alex Weldon is a game designer by day and poker tournament wizard by night. You can read more from Alex at www.benefactum.ca and follow him on Twitter at @benefactumgames Register at PokerForums.org and keep the conversation going!

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