Event #3 is the largest non-WSOP main event poker tournament in history. The previous record was Event #17 at the 2006 World Series of Poker. That event attracted 2,891 entries. This year’s first $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold championship destroyed the previous record by 107 players. There were approximately 2600 entries and 400 alternates, for a combined field of 2,998 players. This ranks as the third-largest poker tournament of all-time, behind the 2005 and 2006 championship (main) events.
The winner was Ciaran O’Leary. The new champ is originally from Ireland. He now lives in Seattle, WA. O’Leary has played at the WSOP during six of the last ten years. However this was his first time ever to cash. What a huge payout it turned out to be -- $727,012 for first place.
Ciaran O’Leary’s first name is pronounced KIR-AHN. His nickname is “Big C.”
O’Leary was all-in at the final table five times. He survived each confrontation.
A full house of spectators packed into the Rio poker arena and was treated to an exciting show. O’Leary was clearly the crowd favorite. Each time he was all-in, he got up and walked away from the table. Several times he left the arena entirely and walked into the busy tournament area, with television cameras rolling to capture every step. It was obvious this was O’Leary’s way to relieve tension. The strategy worked.
Ireland has produced several WSOP gold bracelet winners – most notably the 1999 main event champion, Noel Furlong. With this victory, O’Leary is now the second-highest WSOP winner who is originally from Ireland.
At the start of the final table, all eyes were on Alex Jacob. He arrived with a monstrous chip lead – with over 3,000,000 in chips while the average stack was about 800,000. He ended up busting out in third place. Jacob cashed four times at last year’s WSOP and made two final table appearances.
The runner up was Paul Evans from Mt. Shasta, CA. This was his second time to take second place in a WSOP event. He also finished second at the final table back in 2000.
2003 WSOP champion Chris Moneymaker cashed in this event. He finished in the 233rd spot.
This was ESPN’s second WSOP broadcast of 2007. The ESPN telecast is expected to air some time after July 10, 2007.