Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Many Will Enter the 2008 WSOP Main Event?

How Many Will Enter the 2008 WSOP Main Event?Unlike last year at this time, I haven’t really noticed all that much speculating on the forums, blogs, podcasts, and elsewhere about the possible number of entrants for this year’s WSOP Main Event.

There was one thread over on 2+2 (begun back in early March) that didn’t get too much response when it began, flared up again briefly in April, then got some more responses after the announcement that the Main Event final table had been rescheduled to November. (Most estimate that move won’t have a significant impact on the overall number of players entering the ME.)

The thread hasn’t even reached 90 posts, though. I remember last year someone posted a contest to pick the correct number (perhaps someone will do that again eventually). Over 700 responded on that one, including me. I guessed 5,763, about 600 shy of the final total.

Guesses in this year’s thread mostly range between 5,000 and 8,000. (Oliver Tse predicted between 8,000 and 9,000.) One popular response was to say less than 2006 (8,773) but more than 2007 (6,358). Several also suggested that for a variety of reasons (including the weak dollar) we’re going to see fewer Americans percentage-wise in this year’s field than ever before.

Last year at this time, we were all still trying to keep our heads above water amid the considerable wake caused by the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act, signed into law in October 2006. It was only late February 2007 when Harrah’s made it known that “third-party registrations for players are not permitted unless submitted by Official WSOP sponsors.” That policy continues to be in place for this year’s WSOP -- it appears as Rule No. 5 on this year’s tournament rules -- although by now the online sites and players have had plenty of time to grow accustomed to the new arrangement.

On Monday, Lenny over at the PokerBlog posted some lines regarding the WSOP ME, including some odds on the number of total entrants. The odds came from an online casino called “Paddy Power.” Here are the odds they’re laying on how many will enter the Main Event:

Lenny says he’s going with one of the favorites here and predicting “right around 6,700” entrants. Phil Gordon made the same prediction last week on his podcast, The Poker Edge, also guessing exactly 6,700, although he also stated he thought attendance was going to be down this year at the WSOP. He must’ve been referring to overall numbers and not the Main Event, as 6,700 entrants would represent an increase from last year’s total of 6,358.

Says Gordon, “I’ve noticed the attendance in the poker rooms has been significantly lower over the course of the past, say, six-to-nine months than [it had been] in the past. The economy, as we know, is suffering a little bit. I think that although the rest of the world seems to be exploding with poker growth, I think the U.S. might be a little burned out on it.”

The discussion came amid Gordon’s interview with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. Gordon had asked Pollack to offer his own prediction, which the Commissioner refused to do (as he always has done). However, when Gordon offered that estimate of 6,700 -- saying he “wouldn’t put too big a bet on it” -- Pollack did respond by saying “We will see, and maybe off-air we will wager a nice steak dinner,” a response which Gordon interpreted as implying Pollack was “taking the over” on his prediction.

I don’t have much feel for what we’ll see at this year’s Main Event, although I do think the final total will probably exceed that of 2007. Of course, whatever the tally ends up being, it will surely be given more symbolic worth than it deserves as an “indicator” of the overall health of poker.

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Blogger PokerShrink said...

The WSOP number everyone will remember will come in November.

5/21/2008 12:35 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Seems to be a lot of doom-and-gloom amongst the poker media regarding the overall health of poker - HSP and WPT possibly going away, some say followed closely by a drastic decrease in ESPN coverage if this year's gambit doesn't work. Also, many pros are saying that the top games have gotten tougher to find and tougher to beat, as new blood isn't coming in. My question is this: Even if the worst-case happens media-wise and most televised poker disappears from TV, does that really mean the death of poker? Would the people currently going to the card rooms to play 5/10 or logging hundreds of hours a week online suddenly log off?

I guess I just don't know what "insiders" mean when they speculate that the poker boom is over. A decrease in the total number of players?

5/21/2008 1:40 PM  
Blogger Amatay said...

Poker boom is no way finished after seeing some of the shockers at my tarbs recently, reeeedic!

5/21/2008 3:55 PM  
Blogger SluggerWV said...

I say more than 8000 show up and play in the main event. I also say that amatay has a pretty nice pic with his post

5/21/2008 6:13 PM  
Anonymous gtycoon said...

I have heard PokerStars is sending 1000 on their own this year.

I'm thinking closer to 8000 so I'm thinking 7908 EXACTLY! lol

WSOP is just around the corner but I can't wait!

5/21/2008 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So just how is the wsop main event going to end? when the final table is determined in july--do the 8 players just take a 4 month holiday? why?

5/28/2008 9:35 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Yes, anon., the final nine will all go home and come back to the Rio on November 9th to play it out.

Why? That's a harder one to answer. If you go back to my posts from the beginning of May, you'll see me sharing some of the reasons why -- and linking to others' with further explanations.

5/28/2008 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think poker sites have been pushing the wsop main event harder than last year... although admittedly the allure has dried up a bit with other big tournaments becoming available around the rest of the world.
6677 players is my guess.

6/26/2008 9:10 PM  

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