2011 was supposed to be the year where WSOP attendance fell dramatically from its record in 2010. After all, the events of Black Friday ensured that many Americans wouldn’t be able to compete for WSOP prize packages through sites like PokerStars, UB Poker, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt. However, a total anomaly has happened this year since WSOP attendance is not only doing well, but it’s on pace to set records!
After 29 events, WSOP attendance is 10% higher than it was in 2010, and there are no signs of this growth slowing down. About the only thing that could possibly hinder the attendance from reaching record figures is that less amateurs will have won $10k Main Event prize packages through online sites. However, it’s pure speculation at this point, much like the speculation that attendance figures would be way down.
So just how is the world’s largest poker event even more popular this year? Well one possible reason could be the fact that many US online pros are unable to play at the biggest poker sites, so they’re concentrating their efforts on the 2011 WSOP. This theory is highlighted by a large number of noted online pros, such as Tom Dwan, David Sands and Richard Lyndacker, who are entering as many events as they can this year. In the past, many of these players took a casual approach to the WSOP since they mainly relied on internet games.
Of course, there is also a large international presence at the WSOP, which includes three players from the UK who have won bracelets. Going further with this, Ukraine-born players such as Eugene Katchalov (lives in US) and Oleksii Kovalchuk have also won bracelets.
Whatever the main factor is behind this WSOP attendance surge, it will be fun to see if the record is broken once again in 2011.