The moment poker players wait all year for is finally here.
The $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event begins in earnest Thursday at 12 noon, where players from more than 100 countries around the globe are expected to descend on the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in pursuit of fame, fortune and perhaps the World Champion title.
The reigning world champion is Jonathan Duhamel, from Quebec, Canada who pocketed $8,944,310 and the most coveted prize in poker - his very first WSOP gold bracelet.
The first of four starting days is set for Thursday, July 7 at 12 noon. This day is officially classified as Day 1A on the schedule. Total playing time each day is 10 playing hours, consisting of 5 two-hour levels. With a 90-minute dinner break and 20-minute breaks after each level, players can expect a full 13 hour day from start to finish.
Players who survive Day 1A will return on Monday, July 11 as part of Flight 2A.
Days 1 and 2 of the WSOP Main Event will play five two-hour levels. Players can expect to start at 12 noon each day and play until 12:45 am.
Those who don't start on Thursday, can still sign up and begin on Friday, July 8, Saturday, July 9 or the last starting day -- Sunday, July 10.
As was the case last year, Days 1A and 1C will combine to return on Day 2A. Thus, Days 1B and 1D will return on Tuesday, July 12 -- known officially as Day 2B.
Once play hits Day 3, which will be on Thursday, July 14, players will begin at 12 noon each day and play four two-hour levels. Play is expected to end at around 11 pm nightly.
ESPN will be on hand to televise all the action, including showing hole cards on select feature tables on a 30-minute delay.
Registration remains open through the first two levels of each starting day. Which means players have until 4:40 pm each of the first four starting days to register and begin play that day.
Players should be aware that WSOP tournament officials must balance the fields each day in order to fit in all the players necessary for Day 2's. Thus, players who want a certain start day, are encouraged to get to the Rio WSOP registration cage as soon as possible. At this point, there is no way to guarantee your starting day and there is not unlimited capacity.