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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | The Works

$10K WSOP Main Event – Day 1D Perspectives

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It was all about the numbers. And the numbers were positive, which prompted a collective sigh of relief all around.

Day 1D of the 2008 WSOP $10K main event was important. In order to show that poker was alive and well and that Harrah’s knew how to bring the players to the Rio in greater numbers than last year, the number of entrants needed to be higher than 2007. While no one anticipated the 8,773 who were on hand for the 2006 WSOP main event, the powers-that-be hoped for a number higher than the 6,358 in 2007.

It was. A total of 6,358 players registered for the 2008 main event, which was a small but important increase of 486.

Look at the Day 1A through 1D totals from 2007 and 2008:

Day 1A: 2007 = 1287 players 2008 = 1297 players
Day 1B: 2007 = 1545 players 2008 = 1158 players
Day 1C: 2007 = 1743 players 2008 = 1928 players
Day 1D: 2007 = 1783 players 2008 = 2461 players
Total: 2007 = 6358 players 2008 = 6844 players

While the second starting day was down quite a bit from that of the previous year, the first and third were higher, and the last day was significantly higher. It was a good sign.

There were several indications that the numbers would be down in 2008. The inability to reverse the UIGEA kept many online poker sites from having the kind of presence at the WSOP that brought in so many players two years prior was one of the biggest deterrents to bringing in the big numbers. Fewer viewers have been watching poker on television, and TV networks – not to mention book publishers and other mainstream media – have been hesitant to put any faith in the fact that consumers were still interested in the “fad.” Online poker sites, with new U.S. regulations scaring the pee out of them, were forced to award WSOP seat winners with cash prizes and hope that they used that money to buy in to the tournament in Vegas. And on top of everything else, the United States economy has been in a near-recession state for quite some time, severely hampering many people with families and other obligations from spending that much needed money on the World Series.

But despite those causes for speculation, the WSOP grew. It makes one wonder what the number of players would look like if the online market was allowed to reenter the U.S. openly. It quite possibly could be overwhelming.

In the meantime, the WSOP has shown that it is as healthy as ever. The 6,844 players created a prize pool of $64,333,600. And the top 666 finishers will be paid as the field dwindles over the coming days. The prize dangling out there until the delayed final table returns to Las Vegas in November? $9,119,517. Nine million for one of the November nine.

Poker is alive and well at the World Series. At this point, it looks as if nearly 50% of the entrants will be returning for the two second days of the tournament, and a long week of play-down will follow. But it’s all a good sign in the eyes of Harrah’s, the poker media, poker players, and poker fans. The game still thrives.

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