Countdown to the 2011 WSOP: Attendance Numbers

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 26, 2011 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

We are T-Minus 7 and counting until the start of the 2011 World Series of Poker on May 31, when the $500 Casino Employees tournament and the $25,000 Heads-Up No limit Holdem Championship get underway, and in this article I’ll take a look at what effect Black Friday may have on the overall attendance of the 2011 WSOP.

Thus far Black Friday’s affect on tournament attendance is still an unknown quantity. While the WPT Hollywood Poker Open and other stateside tournaments, as well as EPT Grand Final and EPT Berlin saw marked decreases in attendance, the WPT Championship –which seemed to be one of the most at risk tournaments—saw an increase in attendance!

Most people have been guessing at the Main Event attendance –where the over/under seems to be around 5,500—but it could be the preliminary tournaments that take the biggest hit. The big buy-in events will likely see little change considering the vast majority of players in these tournaments are live tournament pros to begin with, but the smaller buy-in tournaments could take a big hit as the up and coming online pros, with $10k-$15k as a WSOP bankroll, no longer have the capability of playing four or five WSOP events.

Additionally, there is also the Full Tilt Poker problem. With players’ funds still locked-up on the site many players simply don’t have access to their bankrolls and will have to pare down their WSOP schedules. This is something that could also affect the big backers, if they have a lot of stake money tied up online.

The final issue is the mid-level sponsored pros who may be looking at their contracts being terminated after the WSOP, especially if they are mainly known only in the US.

The WSOP has been downplaying the role Black Friday will play on attendance, but this is wishful thinking, delusional thinking, or most likely an attempt to dissuade people from skipping tournaments out of fear of a low turnout.

We should have a good feel for how attendance will be before the first week of the WSOP is in the books. There is an excellent mix of games and buy-ins over the first week of the 2011 WSOP, with the $25k Heads-Up NLHE kicking off the tournament series on May 31st, followed by a number of small buy-in non-Holdem disciplines as well as the $5k NLHE and $10k Pot Limit Holdem Championship, and then the $1k NLHE tournament on June 4th.

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