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WSOP Stories: Has the Popularity of the WSOP Risen From Last Year?

WSOP Stories: Has the Popularity of the WSOP Risen From Last Year? 0001

After the announcement of the UIGEA, many people in the poker community raised concern that the popularity of poker would be severely hampered, especially at the WSOP. A majority of entrants last year came from online satellites; since many online poker sites have either rejected American players or shut down altogether, the logic followed that numbers would be way down this year.

At the start of last year's series, similar concerns were raised that poker was on a downswing and the game's popularity was dying fast. Predictors of poker's fading popularity were quickly proven wrong after almost every event showed an increase from the year prior, and numerous records on attendance were shattered.

Through the first 21 events this year, it is difficult to compare numbers from previous years because the schedule has changed and new events have been added to the mix. However, looking at various trends, it is possible to make some observations about popularity at the WSOP. Taking into account that one would expect a rise in average event buy-ins to correlate with a decrease in attendance and vice versa, the general trends are as follows:

For no-limit hold'em events, the average buy-in to date is higher than last year, and the average number of players is also higher, at 1,620 players per event compared to 1,458 last year, a rise of 11%. No-limit hold'em, therefore, appears to be increasing in popularity from last year. It is worth noting, too, that the ladies' event this year had a 13% rise in entrants from last year.

Mixed games have also seemed to rise in popularity. There are more events spread and the player count has gone up significantly from last year's numbers, although the buy-ins have been lowered as well.

The popularity of fixed-limit and pot-limit hold'em events are more difficult to judge because, while the average amount of participants per event has dropped in both types of games, the average buy-in has also been raised. However, the numbers seem to be somewhat comparable to last year.

Stud events are a difficult call. The number of entrants has gone down, but like fixed- and pot-limit hold'em, the average buy-in has been raised. The popularity of these events also seems to be comparable to last year.

Omaha events do seem to have gone down in popularity since last year. The buy-ins have been lowered compared to last year, but the average fields have been slightly smaller, rather than the increase that rises in other events might indicate.

Overall, it is pretty clear that no-limit hold'em is not slowing down at all. Its popularity is still expanding to record heights. The number of total entrants through 21 events does show a slight decline, but this can be almost wholly attributed to the decrease in percentage of hold'em events and the introduction of a wider variety of events. Poker's popularity as a whole seems to be increasing and has definitely not been severely curtailed as many had expected – the online poker community and new players have found other ways to fight back against the damage from the UIGEA and keep poker growing strong.

Statistics:
No-Limit Hold'em:

2006

Average Buy-in Amount: $2,100

Average Number of Players: 1,458

Number of Events: 10

2007

Average Buy-in Amount: $1,642

Average Number of Players: 1,620

Number of Events: 7

Pot-Limit Hold'em:

2006

Average Buy-in Amount: $1,750

Average Number of Players: 846

Number of Events: 2

2007

Average Buy-in Amount: $3,250

Average Number of Players: 590

Number of Events: 2

Fixed-Limit Hold'em:

2006

Average Buy-in Amount: $2,000

Average Number of Players: 728

Number of Events: 3

2007

Average Buy-in Amount: $3,250

Average Number of Players: 584

Number of Events: 2

Omaha:

2006

Average Buy-in Amount: $5,667

Average Number of Players: 384

Number of Events: 3

2007

Average Buy-in Amount: $3,250

Average Number of Players: 368

Number of Events: 2

Stud:

2006

Average Buy-in Amount: $1,500

Average Number of Players: 478

Number of Events: 1

2007

Average Buy-in Amount: $2,833

Average Number of Players: 305

Number of Events: 3

Mixed Games:

2006

Average Buy-in Amount: $50,000

Average Number of Players: 143

Number of Events: 1

2007

Average Buy-in Amount: $3,333

Average Number of Players: 387

Number of Events: 3

Ladies Event:

2006

Number of Players: 1,128

2007

Number of Players: 1,286

Summary of Statistics through 21 events:

2006:

Total Entrants: 20,227

Average Buy-in: $4,950

2007

Total Entrants: 17,883

Average Buy-in: $2,525

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