Harrah’s Cherokee Part Of International Effort To Break WSOP Records

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in the Great Smoky Mountains has been chosen as a site for a “Main Event Maynia” World Series of Poker qualifying tournament.

The North Carolina poker event occurs on May 19-21, ahead of the main WSOP competition at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas casinos on July 3-17.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, a North Carolina casino operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is one of 14 poker rooms on four continents taking part in this global WSOP qualifying event.

WSOP aims to break records in 2023

The World Series of Poker just missed breaking its record for total entries last year – it was 110 entries short – and tournament officials have added a new twist to try to almost guarantee a new record in 2023.

The Main Event Maynia weekend series will give players in different US regions and from around the world a chance to qualify for the WSOP Las Vegas main event at their regional casinos and poker rooms.

The other “Maynia” events in the US occur at casinos in Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi and Florida. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino will be the closest option for numerous poker players on the eastern seaboard.

Two casinos in Canada and one each in the Czech Republic and Uruguay also serve as “Maynia” sites this month.

WSOP winners could come from anywhere

Main Event Maynia aims to cast the widest net possible for prospective WSOP competitors.

“History is only a few months away, and Main Event Maynia is a big part of making sure this is the biggest field in the history of the WSOP,” World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart said in a statement.

“The reigning Champion Espen Jorstad earned his Main Event seat by winning a satellite event, so there’s plenty of reason to believe this year’s champion might just be a regional player who wouldn’t otherwise be heading to Las Vegas. Main Event Maynia is long overdue, and we thank our global network of satellite partners for giving players a chance to take their shot from their own backyard.”

What’s at stake at Harrah’s Cherokee WSOP qualifier

Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event Maynia qualifier will feature a “Guaranteed Seat Satellite Step-up Tournament” with a buy-in of just $140. It’s called “High Hands” and will start on May 19 and conclude the morning of May 21.

The winner will advance to the Main Event Maynia main event at 2 p.m. that Sunday, with no entry fee required for a shot at a ticket to Vegas and the WSOP Main Event.

For players who want to buy into the Main Event Maynia tournament, a seat will cost $1,175. The tournament will feature one WSOP Main Event package, giving the winner a free seat at the WSOP Main Event in Vegas, and for every 10 entries into the tournament, one more WSOP Main Event package will be added.

With the record field of 8,773 entrants in 2006 in jeopardy, WSOP offers one more lure for players: if the record for total WSOP entrants is broken, all of this year’s entrants will be part of a drawing with a grand prize of a Main Event buy-in for the next 30 years.

Past North Carolina winners at the WSOP

The World Series of Poker, an extravagant event now with about 100 titles on the line, began modestly in 1970 at owner Benny Binion’s Horseshoe Casino with only seven of the most accomplished poker players in the world.

While all event winners receive a coveted gold bracelet, the Main Event – a $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’Em contest – is the one that traditionally bestows on the winner the title of “World Champion.”

The ever-growing first-place prize in the Main Event reached $10 million and was won last year by Jorstad (a figure topped only by Jamie Gold’s $12 million in that record-breaking year of 2006).

In 2004, North Carolinian Greg Raymer of Raleigh won the Main Event and a $5 million prize. Another Raleigh resident, Christopher Bell, captured the WSOP $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better event in 2010 and took home $327,040.

Ken Aldridge of Pleasant Garden earned a WSOP bracelet in 2009 while winning $428,259 in the WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold’Em, 6-Handed event.

About the Author

John Brennan

John Brennan has covered the issue of the expansion of legal sports betting since New Jersey voters approved a ballot question backing the idea in 2011. He covered the lawsuit by the NFL and four other sports organizations against the state from 2012-018, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 26-year-old federal law that effectively had given Nevada a monopoly on sports betting. Since then, Brennan has tracked betting legalization efforts in every state, including North Carolina.