Friday, June 08, 2007

2007 WSOP, Day 8: Running the Numbers, Numbering the Runners

Running Number, via the 'Know Your Numbers' page (click to view)One week down, six to go. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. That’s for certain.

Was trying to get a sense for how the numbers of entrants in this year’s World Series of Poker compared with past totals. During the first seven days of the WSOP this year, 12 events got underway. Six of those events are described by the WSOP folks as “new” events -- some really are new (like the Omaha 8/b-Stud 8/b event the Donkey Bomber took down), while others are not really new but familiar games with different buy-ins. So that means we’ve had six events which at least superficially compare with previously-staged events -- i.e., same game, same buy-in, a “defending champion,” etc.

All six of these events were also featured in 2004-2006, and all but one in 2003. Here is how this year’s numbers compare to those of the past four years:

Green numbers indicate an increase; red numbers indicate a decline. As you can see, numbers are down for four of the six events this year, and the overall number of entrants is down as well.

The increased number of events this year -- and the fact that most days see two different events starting, and a lot of overlap as well -- is the most obvious explanation for lower numbers in individual events. Also, this year’s Event No. 1 -- the $1,500 NL Hold ’em event -- would have drawn a larger pool had the registration process not encountered that bottleneck-snafu, causing inordinate delays and discouraging some from sticking around.

The other events here for which the figures seem most meaningful are the PL Hold ’em event (down about 30%) and the other NL Hold ’em event (down about 20%). A lot of those players in the Hold ’em crowd don’t enter tourneys featuring other games, so the daily-double-styled schedule doesn’t entirely explain the decline in those two events, I’d conjecture.

Like many observers, I do think the Main Event field will be down, with the UIGEA (specifically its prompting of Harrah’s to enforce its no third-party registration rule) being a primary factor. If I had to guess, I’d say the Main Event will probably be down by about a third -- that is, we’ll see something like 5,400-5,800 entrants. I do believe a number of those who “qualified” for their Main Event online either have decided to bank their winnings or have used their cabbage to enter multiple smaller events.

Two more bracelets awarded tonight. Event No. 10, the $2,000 NL Hold ’em event, includes Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo at its final table. Event No. 11, the $5,000 Seven Card Stud event, features Phil Ivey going for his sixth WSOP bracelet. Incidentally, all five of Ivey’s WSOP bracelets have been in non-Hold ’em events.

Event No. 12, the $1,500 Six-Handed NL Hold ’em event, plays down to its final table today. A wild day at that one yesterday. The play was apparently very fast from the get-go, and they were able to play down from 1,427 entrants to just 62. Hard to fathom, but that means they had approximately two players bustout every minute all day.

And two more events get underway, Event No. 13, the $5,000 Pot Limit Hold ’em, and Event No. 14, the $1,500 Seven Card Stud.

Go check out PokerNews’ live reporting from the WSOP for the latest.



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