In Part 1 of this series I went over possible festivities for two poker players, Chris Moneymaker (this year marking the 10-year anniversary of his dramatic win) and Doyle Brunson, who “officially” retired from World Series of Poker play a couple weeks ago. In Part 2 I took a look at the potential online poker market in Nevada over the course of the WSOP, and now in the final installment in this series I’ll offer up some thoughts on a new phenomenon in poker: Competing against the WSOP.
Does the WSOP Have Competition?
For the first time in recent memory it appears that the World Series of Poker is not going to get a free pass from the rest f the poker world, and not only is the WSOP facing some stiff competition during the opening week of the tournament series, it appears the two events that have decided to compete against the WSOP have already shown the WSOP to be vulnerable –well, at least the preliminary events anyway.
When it comes to early attendance numbers for the 2013 World Series of Poker it’s been a case of, so far so good. The 44th running of the tournament series has seen terrific turnouts over the course of the first 3 events, and while we’re not talking about 2006-2008 numbers, we are seeing some of the biggest turnouts over the past five WSOP’s.
On the opening day of the 2013 WSOP, Event #1 got the ball rolling with the largest turnout since 2008, and the new $5k 8-Max NLHE tournament drew a respectable 441 players. Day 2 of the 2013 WSOP continued the trend with a very solid 3,164 entrants over the course of two opening flights in the $1,000 buy-in NLHE tournament.
With two opening flights and a reentry, even with Event #3 topping 3,000 entries I’m pretty sure the WSOP had their sights set on a larger number, as previous $1k NLHE events at the WSOP have drawn much larger fields. Last year the WSOP’s $1k tournaments drew 2,799 entrants, 2,795 entrants, 2,949 entrants, 3,221 entrants, and 4,620 entrants.
There may be a very good explanation why the casino employee tournament was the only event that really saw attendance skyrocket, and that explanation is competition. The 2013 World Series of Poker has quite a bit of competition taking place around the world; from the PokerStars ANZPT Main Event in Melbourne, Australia, to the ISPT in London, England, and to the Asia Millions in Macau, the tournament poker world is still fractured as the WSOP gets underway.
While this may not seem like such a big deal, it most certainly is for higher-buy-in tournaments that attract a few hundred players. When you have 50 players over in London for the ISPT, another 20 still in Australia until the ANZPT concludes, and 20 or more of the most prolific tournament players hanging out in Macau you can see how this will adversely the early numbers for the high-buy-in tournaments like Event #2.
This will probably end after about a week, when these tournaments come to a close and the remaining stragglers head to Las Vegas, and right about Event #15 I expect to see the attendance numbers bump-up a bit. Although, it should be noted that the early numbers have been far stronger than I expected.