All in for Poker

Skill, luck, patience and perseverance take center stage as the World Series of Poker reclaims the Rio May 27-July 17, reminding us once again that hope springs eternal and poker really is anyone’s game.

Last year’s event drew almost 61,000 entrants and paid out more than $174 million in prize money. Among those who made the cut to be in the November Nine in the 2009 Main Event was Darvin Moon, a 46-year-old logger from Maryland who had never been on an airplane but earned his $10,000 WSOP entry by winning a $130 satellite tournament in Wheeling, W.V. Another November Niner was 34-year-old superstar Phil Ivey, a fixture in the world’s most expensive poker rooms for nearly a decade (and now namesake of “The Ivey Room” at Aria), who holds seven WSOP bracelets. Nonetheless, the title went to the youngest champion in the WSOP’s history, 21-year-old Joe Cada, whose online poker skills translated to the live table. Cada survived several precarious positions, outlasting 6,493 other players to win $8.5 million. Moon finished in second-place with $5.1 million and Ivey was seventh with $1.4 million.

This year marks the 41st anniversary of WSOP, and involves 57 events with buy-ins ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. Highlights from several rounds, including the Main Event, are recorded and broadcast throughout the summer on ESPN.