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Expect 2011 WSOP Main Event Numbers to Fall

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
May/01/2011
2011 WSOP Main Event

The World Series of Poker begins later this month, and it couldn't come at a worse time.

Just weeks after the Federal government of the USA busted the owners and operators of three of the world's largest online poker rooms, the world's premiere offline poker event is set to begin.

And it will be affected.

The question is, how much?

The answer is, likely a lot.

The WSOP, especially its Main Event, will be affected by the busts of Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, because many WSOP participants qualify via online poker tournaments offered by those rooms.

Up until a few years ago, those rooms and others offered official WSOP online qualifying tourneys.

Thousands would pay a small fee to participate in one and the winner would receive a seat into, say, the WSOP Main Event, which had a $10,000 buy-in.

A few years ago, however, the WSOP terminated all business relationships with online poker rooms where people gambled real money (such as pokerstars.com), but continued to do business with online poker rooms where people used play money (such as pokerstars.net).

It was a ridiculous decision, of course, because pokerstars.com and pokerstars.net are the same company, but it gave the WSOP enough cover to continue its tenuous relationship with online poker.

WSOP poker tables' logos were changed to .net from .com for online poker room sponsors, and players could no longer wear .com patches for their Internet poker sponsors, only .net.

In addition, the WSOP terminated all its relationships with real-money online poker rooms that ran official online WSOP qualifiers.

The rooms could no longer offer tourneys that awarded seats to WSOP events, including the Main Event.

Not wanting to give up a lucrative aspect of its business--the WSOP qualifiers--the online rooms simply started giving out $10,000 in cash, for example, to qualifier winners instead of a WSOP Main Event seat, and let the winners buy their own seats.

They were now unofficial WSOP qualifiers.

With that change of dynamic, however, many qualifier winners just kept the cash and never went to the WSOP.

Not unexpectedly, the number of people participating in the WSOP Main Event, as well as other events, dropped sharply.

Now, with the Federal busts of three online rooms, the rooms have stopped accepting U.S. customers.

That means no more Americans participating in their WSOP qualifying tournaments, which means fewer people entering the WSOP in general and the WSOP Main Event in particular.

Last year's WSOP Main Event drew 7,319 entrants, giving the event an $8.9 million top prize and a total prize pool of over $68 million.

Expect all three of those numbers to fall sharply this year.

In fact, some poker insiders have told Gambling911.com that they expect this year's WSOP Main Event to drew only half as many participants as last year, due to the drop in entrants to WSOP online qualifiers.

The bad economy is already wreaking havoc on the growth of tournament poker.

Now this.

The only thing worse for the game would be if Phil Hellmuth got pemanent laryngitis

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer

tomsomach@yahoo.com

Jul 8, 2010 ... Here's how the Main Event shaped up in 2010: ENTRANTS: 7319. PRIZE POOL: $68798600. 1st PLACE PRIZE: $8944138. This means the 2010 WSOP Main ...

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