World Series of Poker Beating Attendance ExpectationsTweet Share
In spite of the continued economic problems worldwide and other negative factors, organizers of the World Series of Poker are seeing attendance that is exceeding the expectations and causing great optimism. Concerns that various factors could lead to a drop in attendance this year have been unfounded, as there has actually been an increase over last year’s numbers.
Seth Palansky, Communications Director for the WSOP, said, “We did fear coming in that the financial crisis, particularly across Europe, would have a bigger impact on us than it has thus far.” He added, “You can trace the value of the euro and British pound over the past several years to where it is now, and in some cases it’s down 30% to 40%. We saw that as a red flag that may have an effect on us, but it hasn’t come to fruition.”
In addition to the economic struggles, other factors were expected to drive numbers down. The financial crisis in Greece, Spain and other countries, along with the travel problems caused by the Icelandic volcano eruptions were dampening hopes for a big turnout; so far, those issues have not kept the poker players away.
Last year, the WSOP attracted approximately 61,000 players to Las Vegas; based on results from the early events, it is hopeful that those totals will be exceeded this year. The first three $10,000 buy-in events that were held drew five percent more players this year; Event 17, $5,000 No Limit Hold’em grabbed 792 players, an increase of more than twenty percent.
“We’re fortunate. It’s the Olympic effect. It’s the once-a-year celebration of poker where everyone wants to come test themselves against the best in the world,” Palansky said. “The value of a win here carries more meaning than any other tournament.”
While organizers will continue watching the numbers, the signs are good for the 41st annual WSOP. Thankfully for both Las Vegas and the tournament, attendance is beating expectations and the economy.