The 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) began on June 25, 2006 with "satellite" events, with regular play commencing on June 26 with the annual Casino Employee event, and the Tournament of Champions held on June 28 and 29. Forty more events in various disciplines including Omaha, seven-card stud and razz, plus ladies' and senior tournaments led up to the 10,000 US$ no-limit Texas hold 'em main event starting July 28 and running through the final table on August 10.
All events were held at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, which marked the first time that a casino other than Binion's Horseshoe (now "Binion's") hosted the final table of the main event. Six days reserved for the first two rounds of play for the main event were established by Harrah's Entertainment, which has run the annual event since its purchase from the Binion family in 2004.
The first prize in the main event was $12 million (US$), at that time the richest prize for the winner of any sports or television event in history. The top 12 players became millionaires. The record prize will be surpassed at the 2012 WSOP, when the winner of The Big One for One Drop, a $1 million buy-in event, will receive a minimum of $12.3 million, with $18.3 million possible if all 48 seats in that event are filled.
The 2006 World Series featured a much-anticipated HORSE tournament with a $50,000 buy-in, the highest ever for a single WSOP event.
Humberto Brenes, Phil Hellmuth, Chris Ferguson, and Alex Jacob are tied for the most number of cashes during one WSOP, with eight cashes each. Jeff Madsen, who won two events and made two other final tables (finishing third both times), was named the 2006 WSOP Player of the Year (POTY). He barely edged Hellmuth, who also made four final tables.
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