This Year's WSOP Will "Give the Industry Back Its Swagger"Published on May 12th, 2011 5:38 pm EST
Given the events of the past month, it can be easy to forget that the 2011 World Series of Poker starts in less than three weeks.
Many people have been speculating as to the impact of "Black Friday" on this year's World Series of Poker. How many people will turn out for the main event this year? How will the smaller NLHE events be impacted? Will any "big name" pros decide to stay away?
During a media conference call that was held yesterday to officially kick off the 2011 World Series of Poker, WSOP officials were confident that poker players would still flock to Las Vegas this summer, despite the events of the past 3-4 weeks.
In fact, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel said that "they don't see any reason why this year's field of players won't meet or exceed last year's numbers." In 2010, nearly 73,000 entrants from 117 different countries ended up producing a total prize pool of over $187 million.
According to Effel, 2011 could be even bigger.
World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart noted in the conference call that advance hotel room bookings are up for June and July, "which is a better benchmark on attendance than advance registration for different events."
It was noted by WSOP officials in the conference call, however, that the ability of US players to retrieve their balances from Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker will have an impact on this year's turnout. US players have their fingers crossed that Full Tilt and AP/UB will be able to start paying out by the time that the World Series of Poker gets underway in a few weeks.
While "Black Friday" has certainly cast a dark shadow over this year's World Series of Poker (and very likely substantially decreased the size of the main event field), there are a number of positives that are working in the WSOP's favor.
To start, ESPN is going to be offering significantly expanded coverage of the World Series of Poker this year, which will include 36 hours of same-day coverage for the main event.
In addition, the World Series of Poker announced on Wednesday that final table action for 55 of the bracelet events will be aired live on WSOP.com this year.
On top of all of that, the economy is currently stronger than it was at this time last year, which should also help boost attendance numbers.
Filed Under: The World Series of Poker