Let me start this one by thanking everyone once again for coming back. And big thanks for all them nice words I’ve received both here, in my email box, and have seen elsewhere around these here intertubes. Means a hell of a lot.
Haven’t written too much here lately about the poker podcasts, but I have been following them. Let me recommend a couple of recent shows to you, in case the WSOP might’ve distracted you from catching them.
One is a podcast I only recently found, the one done by Howard Schwartz, proprietor of the Gamblers Book Shop in Las Vegas. Some might remember I visited the GBS and met Howard last spring. Some time late last year, Howard started a regular podcast in which he interviews authors and other prominent figures in the Vegas gambling scene. Some of you might have read Dr. Pauly’s post yesterday about Archie Karas, the legendary gambler who once turned $10,000 into $17 million, then lost it all. Schwartz interviewed Karas a couple of weeks ago, and he’s every bit as fascinating as Pauly indicates. Click here for that episode, or go here to get to the homepage for the Gamblers Book Club podcast.
Also wanted to recommend the latest episode of Ante Up! in which High Stakes Poker co-host A.J. Benza talks about the show’s possible future. Benza is a funny, smart dude who isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts and opinions. In addition to discussing HSP, he also talks about the Godfather films, his appearance in the last Rocky movie, and his past work as a gossip columnist. You’ll definitely be entertained by this one, I promise you. Click here to get there.
Oh, and while I’m at it I might as well remind you, too, about The Hard-Boiled Poker Radio Show, four episodes of which have been produced. The fifth will come out in a couple of weeks. The podcast features various examples of storytelling, all of which concern poker and/or gambling, and each episode contains an entire old time radio show as well. Check it out.
Looking ahead, then, to today’s action at the WSOP . . .
For PokerNews I’ll be helping cover Day 1 of Event No. 19, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. The first hand will be dealt at the crack of noon, and I expect it’ll be a long day at the laptop. The schedule of play says the plan will be to play ten one-hour levels today. Add in the breaks (including a dinner break after level 6), and that means I’ll probably be there reporting until 1 a.m. or so.
But you know I’m not complaining. It’s Omadraw, baby!
Other stuff happening as well, of course. Another six-event day at the Rio. Head over to PokerNews for the complete line-up. Meanwhile, I wanted to make one last observation heading into play today.
As of this morning, we’ve had 18 events get started at this year’s World Series of Poker, about a third of the total number of events planned. Four of those 18 events are described as “new” in 2008. Actually, the only “new” event technically speaking was Event No. 8, the World Championship Mixed Event (a.k.a., S.P.L.E.N.D.O.R.), but the other three feature different buy-in amounts than what we saw in 2007: the $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Hold’em event (Event No. 1), the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout (Event No. 11), and the $10,000 World Championship Seven Card Stud event (Event No. 14). That means we’ve had people register for and play in 14 events thus far that correspond to events from last summer.
A lot was made of that huge turnout for the first $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event (Event No. 2). Some observers seem to view these entrants figures as an indicator of the overall health of poker, generally speaking, even though there are always numerous other factors that potentially affect how many people sign up for and play in a given event. Still, I thought it would be interesting to see how thus far the numbers of entrants in 2008 events are comparing to what we saw in 2007 for corresponding events.
What are we seeing? Pretty simple to summarize, really. As far as the numbers of entrants go, the WSOP is holding steady.
Eight of the 14 events have had more entrants in 2008, and six have had fewer entrants. Aside from Event No. 2, no huge changes one way or the other in any of the events. And in a couple of cases, the comparison really doesn’t have much meaning. In this year’s Event No. 9, the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event, registration was capped at 1,236, so more might’ve played the event otherwise. And they bumped up to ten-handed tables in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout (Event No. 17), versus the nine-handed tables they had last year. So changes in the numbers of entrants don’t mean too much in those events.
We’ll see if the “holding steady” pattern continues as we get deeper in the schedule. As far as the Main Event goes, these numbers perhaps suggest we’ll probably see something similar to last year’s total of 6,538.
There is one change here, though, that I think might be worth pointing out -- that 20% increase in the number of entrants in Event No. 6, the $1,500 Omaha/8 event. Might indicate something about Omaha’s increased popularity, one could argue. Last year 576 entered the $1,500 PLO event (the one I’m covering today). Wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a few more than that today.
Speaking of which, do follow them live updates over on PokerNews. And thanks again for reading!