Every year when the WSOP issues structure sheets for events, the “reigning champion” is listed at the bottom of the sheet along with the number of entrants in the same event from the previous year. Kind of thing makes it easy to compare turnouts from one year to the next. If there wasn’t a corresponding event from the year before, the WSOP doesn’t list a past winner and instead describes the event as “new.”
Of the 26 events so far, six are described by the WSOP as “new,” although in truth one of them -- Event No. 2, the first $1,500 no-limit hold’em event -- most certainly has a parallel from last summer as there were no less than seven $1,500 NLHE events on the 2011 schedule. Meanwhile, Event No. 10, the $5,000 seven-card stud event won by John Monnette (that drew 145), is being likened on the structure sheet to the $10K version of the event from a year ago (that drew 126).
To compare apples to apples (sorta kinda), then, let’s toss the $5K stud event, add in that first $1,500 NLHE one, and see how turnouts for these other 20 events of the 2012 WSOP compare to those with corresponding games/buy-ins from the past. I did something like this last summer and so with some of these can reach back a bit further to 2008.
(As always, any errors are all mine here.)
For Event Nos. 19 ($1,000 no-limit hold’em) and 21 ($1,500 no-limit hold’em), I used the same 2011 events that the WSOP is referring to on its schedule sheets. However, in the first case the comparison is actually being made to the second $1K event from last year (the first having drawn 4,178), while in the second one the comparison is being made to the first $1,500 NLHE of 2011. (As mentioned, the WSOP is calling Event No. 2 a “new” event, but I’m not.)
You can see at a glance how numbers for most events are down thus far -- in some cases considerably so -- while in a few events the turnouts have gone up a little. Kind of interesting as well to see how certain events like the $1,500 limit hold’em shootout have declined over the last few years, with less than half as many participants this year as was the case in 2008.
Hard to say, but it looks possible that the WSOP’s run of always besting the previous year’s total number of entrants for all events might come to an end in 2012. Last year’s record for total prize money awarded ($192,008,868) appears as though it might not be broken, either, although there’s still a ways to go. (Also, there are extra events this year -- 61 rather than 58.)
Many have noted how we might be witnessing a kind of delayed response to Black Friday with turnouts dipping at the WSOP this year, and that certainly seems at least a partial explanation. What do you think the numbers are telling us thus far?
(By the way, if you hadn’t already guessed, I’m playing a game up above with that picture I snapped at last year’s WSOP. Can you spot the five differences?)