Countdown to the 2012 WSOP: Attendance

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 18, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

According to the World Series of Poker officials, this could be another record-setting year at the summer tournament series in Las Vegas, Nevada. On a conference call, Jack Effel, Ty Stewart, and Seth Palansky were all optimistic that the 2012 WSOP could reach $200 million in total prize-money. Even with the demise of online poker in the US it appears the WSOP is on track to surpass last year’s record-setting numbers.

So why are they so optimistic? Well for one thing, there is the $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for OneDrop tournament which should sweeten the pot, but the trio also remarked that preregistrations and hotel bookings were up from last year, as well as an increase in satellite’s at Caesar’s properties around the country.

The WSOP also feels attendance will be on the rise for the 2012 WSOP, considering they have added an entire room to the 2012 WSOP at the Rio. Now the WSOP will fill the Pavilion Room, the Amazon Room, and the Brazilia Room. The Brazilia Room is the new addition, which brings an additional 92 poker tables into the mix for the WSOP to utilize, bringing the total number of tables allotted for the WSOP to 420. All of this is in addition to the nearly 100 cash-game tables that will also be in use during the WSOP, scattered throughout the Amazon Room as well as in the Rio’s traditional poker room.

Attendance was expected to take a nosedive at the 2011 WSOP, considering the tournament series began just after Black Friday shook the poker world to its foundations. However, even with some $300 million locked-up on Full Tilt Poker and another $50 or $60 million on UB/AP, poker players came out in droves, with the Main Event ending as the second-largest in WSOP history, trailing only the 2006 WSOP.

According to WSOP officials, the loss of online satellites isn’t as damaging as many people think. Jack Effel stated that somewhere between 20% to 25% of the Main Event entrants are from LIVE satellite tournaments, which he called “the biggest onramp to the Main Event.”

So what will the WSOP Main Event attendance look like in 2012? The reality of the situation is that it greatly depends on whether or not the Full Tilt Poker deal goes through, and PokerStars is either able to repay players, or at the least guarantee their money is coming in the near future; a move that might give many players the confidence to risk what cash-on-hand they might have available at the 2012 WSOP.

Right now I have the over/under set at 7,000 players, but if PokerStars does purchase Full Tilt Poker before the WSOP begins (or at the very outset of the tournament series) I would bump that up to 8,000.

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