WSOP begins today: Black Friday cloud remains

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 27, 2012 Posted in Online Poker News, WSOP News | No Comments »

With the 2012 World Series of Poker kicking-off today the poker world is about to undergo its annual Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year celebration all rolled into one. But this time around (actually for the second straight year) the cloud of Black Friday is hanging over the six-week tournament series.

Not only are players still awaiting their Full Tilt poker and AB/UB money, but there are also a number of other ways that Black Friday will affect the 2012 WSOP, perhaps most importantly is the almost non-existent US online poker industry.

No PokerStars

With players from Europe and around the world accustomed to playing major tournament series and having the option to still participate in tournaments and cash-games on online poker sites like PokerStars, going to the WSOP will eliminate this second revenue stream, and may very well keep many foreign players out of the US entirely, or until the last minute.

Even though players can still find an online poker site serving US customers, these sites don’t quite have the traffic and tournament schedules of a PokerStars. Unlike previous years where heading out to Vegas to play a few preliminary events still allowed for online pros to continue to play their trade, in 2012 these players will find heading to Vegas to play in a couple of preliminary events a losing proposition, and will probably simply skip these events.

While this doesn’t seem like it will cause a huge declined in attendance, the WSOP apparently feels it might, which could explain the decrease in buy-ins for a number of tournaments, including the $10k Championship events, some of which are now $5k tournaments.

What’s going on with sponsorship patches?

Another issue players may encounter is their sponsorships, and repping their chosen online poker site. Considering Lock Poker and PokerStars have the two largest poker teams, both Teams of sponsored pros may not be able to wear their site’s logo.

Lock Poker is still serving US customers, so it’s not quite clear how their logo will be received by the WSOP and more importantly ESPN.

PokerStars is still under indictment, despite all of the rumors about them purchasing Full Tilt poker and settling with the DOJ.

Last year players from non-US facing poker sites (like Paddy Power and Party Poker) were able to sport patches, with most of the other players that would typically have PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker plastered all over them going with Cardrunners and more secondary and periphery companies associated with online poker sites being the choice du jour.

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