Preben Stokkan Leads 2-Largest WSOP Main Event in History

A profile photo of Preben Stokkan.

The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is officially the second-largest in it 50-year history after 8,569 players bought into “The Big Dance” for $10,000, creating an $80,548,600 prize pool as a result. Only the 2006 WSOP, won by Jamie Gold for $12 million, was larger. This particular Main Event attracted a field of 8,773 and was in the middle of the so-called poker boom.

It has been an action-packed few days over in Las Vegas, Nevada with plenty of drama on and off the tables. July 4th, American Independence Day, saw fireworks galore.

Legendary pro Phil Ivey bought into Day 1c and was eliminated in less than an hour. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner was one of the pre-tournament favorites for glory but Ivey dusted off his stack in double quick time, much to the disappointment of his legion of fans.

Phil Ivey's 2019 WSOP Main Event lasted less than one hour

Phil Ivey’s 2019 WSOP Main Event lasted less than one hour

Two Players Disqualified

Then there were two poker players disqualified from the Main Event. Georgii Belianin was the first and may not be allowed to enter at Caesars-owned properties after he reached out and took a stack of chips belonging to an opponent. Balianin has since apologized on Twitter and explained he was drunk and putting his hands on another player’s stack was a poor attempt at humor.

The second disqualified player was Ken Stauss who moved all in blind before revealing his holding, queen-trey. Patrick Eskander contemplated calling, before Strauss stood from the table, lowered his pants, flashed his manhood, mooned at the table and threw his shoes across the table, hitting Eskander. It was at this point the floor stepped in and removed Strauss from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

More drama unfolded the day after, July 5th, when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake happened near Ridgecrest, California that was felt in Las Vegas. The force was such that the tournament directors sent the poker players on their dinner break early for their own safety.

2019 WSOP Main Event Reaches the Money

Thankfully, it has been the poker that had done the talking since those unsavory moments, as it should do.

Only 1,286 of the 8,569 starters remain in the 2019 WSOP Main Event, all of them in the money after the money bubble burst on Day 3.

Ryan Pochedly was the unfortunate soul to burst the money bubble. Pochedly opened to 14,000 from under the gun with ace-king and called when Julian Pineda three-bet to 42,000. The flop fell seven-eight-trey and Pochedly check-called an 18,000 bet. Both players check the king of diamonds on the turn before Pochedly checked again on the seven river. Pineda moved all in and Pochedly called with top pair top kicker only to be shown seven-six for trip sevens.

Pochedly was given a $10,000 seat to the 2020 WSOP Main Event as a consolation prize, while the remaining 1,286 players each secured $15,000 for their efforts so far. While $15,000 is a princely sum, everyone who reaches the nine-handed final table will win at least $1 million, with the eventual champion locking up $10 million, the joint-second largest Main Event prize with the prize Martin Jacobson won in 2014.

Preben Stokkan Leads the Way

Leading the way going into Day 4 is Preben Stokkan, a London-based Norwegian who bagged up 2,184,000 chips at the close of play, the only player to finish the night with more than two million betting tokens. Stokkan has $1,733,939 in live poker tournament winnings, placing him seventh in Norway’s all-time money listing.

Stokkan has cashed twice at the 2019 WSOP. A 70th place finish in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed event netted Stokkan $8,659 with his 16th place exit in the $3,200 No-Limit Hold’em Online High Roller yielded $13,340.

His largest live cash weighs in at $275,000, Stokkan’s reward for winning the $10,300 High Roller event at the 2017 partypoker Caribbean Poker Party in the Bahamas. After this solid start in the 2019 WSOP Main Event, Stokkan has every chance of returning him home with a life-changing score.

Dozens of big names had to bag and tag their chips at the close of play on Day 3. These included Andrew Brokos (1,906,000), Galen Hall (1,658,000), Chris Hunichen (1,618,000), Andrey Pateychuk (1,200,000), Joseph Cheong (1,068,000), Matt Glantz (817,000), former Main Event champion Qui Nguyen (669,000), and Faraz Jaka (531,000).

Play resumes at noon Pacific Time on July 9th with blinds set at 3,000/6,000. More than half of the field is likely to bust before the curtain comes down on the day’s proceedings. Will Stokkan still be among the chip leaders when that happens?

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


Joseph Sabe Banks a $507,978 Score at the Wynn Millions

Who Are The Biggest Poker Winners From Israel

Benjamin Diebold Reels In Career Best Score of $96,810