Listen to any poker historian and they will tell the tale of how poker has reached its highest level of popularity globally in the past decade than at any time in history. These historians have had their ideas justified this past week at the World Series of Poker.
The main event always draws thousands of players from outside the United States, but this is the first year where seven different nations are represented at the final table. After hours of slow play, the final table has been set, and diversity is the theme among the finalists.
The 2011 WSOP was highly successful, despite concerns from organizers that Black Friday would slow attendance. The main event became the third largest poker tournament in history, and after weeks of play and hundreds of thousands of hands, the final table was finally reached when Costa Rican John Hewitt was eliminated.
The player responsible for Hewitt’s elimination was Eoghan O’Day, of Ireland. The luck of the Irish found O’Day in the final hand, which came well past midnight on the final day of the tournament. The main event had over 6,500 entrants, and when O’Day eliminated Hewitt, the thousands of fans in attendance rejoiced as the final table had finally been set.
The chip leader heading to the final table will be Martin Staszko. The Czech Republic has never had a final table participant, but now they can get excited about the player that will take the chip lead to the final table. If Staszko wins, he would become the first Czech to win the main event.
After several weeks of play, the WSOP main event will now break for several months. The players remaining without sponsorship deals will land those deals before the main event resumes in November. Of the nine players remaining, seven come from countries outside the US.