Many believed that attendance at this year’s World Series of Poker tournament would be down; the government’s crackdown on online poker might have dampened interest and passion for the WSOP, it was reasoned.
But those fears and concerns were abated this week when it was revealed that attendance is actually up in nearly every category. According to the WSOP, numbers show that 11 events into the tournament attendance is up 2.6 percent. That even takes into the account the very low attendance seen at the Heads-Up Championship, which welcomed only 128 entrants instead of the 256 it saw last year. However, the Heads-Up event was also the only one that featured an increased buy-in — $25,000 this year, up from $10,000 last year.
The event that has so far seen the highest increase in attendance is the Six Handed No-Limit Hold’em event, which featured 257 players, a 15.5 percent increase over last year.
WSOP officials said that the recent government seizure of domain names and indictments of various online poker room heads has had little impact on the live WSOP.
“All over the world, it’s every poker player’s ultimate destination,” WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla told reporters in Las Vegas. “There’s no chance that’s going to change this year or anytime soon.”
While overall attendance is up, there are events that have seen downturns. Many believe that American players – hard hit in the pocketbook and the heart when the government shut down their favorite rooms – are attempting to use more caution with their money these days.