Poker by numbers – the post-Black Friday WSOP so far [Editorial]
Monday, 6 June 2011
With nine events either under way or completed at the time of writing, we take a look at how the numbers from the 2011 World Series of Poker so far compare to the events in previous years and attempt to predict the future for the next few weeks...
2011 Event: #1, $500 Casino Employees’ Championship
2010 equivalent: $500 Casino Employees’ Championship
2010 entrants: 721
Comments: Well, I guess the live dealers like to grind online as well because this is a big jump in attendance for the opening event of the World Series of Poker. The croupiers, waiters and floormen who attended the event have been itching for a poker tournament where they don’t have to work and this is it for them. I’m not surprised to see this event still going very strong; it’s immensely popular among and important to the staff in Las Vegas.
2011 Event: #2, $25,000 Heads-Up No Limit Championship
2010 Event: #52, $25,000 6-max No Limit Championship (OR #35, $10,000 Heads-Up)
2010 entrants: 191 (OR 256)
Comments: It’s become something of a tradition at the World Series of Poker to make the first event a bankrupting one. It’s been the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E./Players’ Championship/whatever for the past couple of series but this year we had the NL HU Championship take a $25,000 chunk of players’ bankrolls right at the get-go. Of course, only 128 of them this year – compared to last year’s $10,000 Heads-Up Championship or the $25,000 6-max Championship this looks like a big drop. However, $25,000 is much more than $10,000 and Heads-Up is tougher than 6-max. There are probably many players confident enough to enter a $25,000 6-max and/or a $10,000 Heads-Up but not a $25,000 Heads-Up.
2011 Event: #3, $1,500 Limit Omaha 8
2010 Event: #4, $1,500 Limit Omaha 8
2010 entrants: 818
Comments: I’m not entirely surprised to see unaffected – nay, record-breaking – fields in the smaller, niche events like $1,500 Omaha 8. The guys who have always played Omaha Hi/Lo will always continue to do so and those who did it online are now screwed. I imagine there are less than a dozen Omaha 8 games running at any given point in time around the world outside of an online poker room so those who need their fix of full ring, minimum-betting, split-pot action (freaks) will flock here.
2011 Event: #4, $5,000 No Limit Hold ‘em
2010 Event: #17, $5,000 No Limit Hold ‘em
2010 entrants: 792
Comments: The first affordable No-Limit event of the series attracted a big field, up 73 players from the 2010 event. It is worth noting that in 2010 this event was positioned a week or two later on the calendar which gives the 2011 event an advantage (no one is broke yet). Of course, though, we expect decent-to-huge fields for most No-Limit preliminaries.
2011 Event: #5, $1,500 Seven-Card Stud
2010 Event: #21, $1,500 Seven-Card Stud
2010 entrants: 408
Comments: As written for Event #3. You’re hard-pressed to find a non-online Stud game as a US player and the $1,500 entry fee is good value. I predict, in fact, that for the rest of the WSOP the mixed game preliminaries with $1,500 - $3,000 buy-ins will be improved fields.
2011 Event: #6, $1,500 Limit Hold ‘em
2010 Event: #12, $1,500 Limit Hold ‘em
2010 entrants: 625
Comments: Though Limit Hold ‘em is hardly as forgotten and geriatric in the poker world as Stud, it is still a game that isn’t spread a huge amount (in comparison to No Limit, anyway). That, plus the fact that a lot of high stakes Limit Hold ‘em action was online, means that the fixed Limit games could see a spike in field sizes.
2011 Event: #7, $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold ‘em
2010 Event: #38, $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold ‘em
2010 entrants: 268
Comments: One of the few events so far to have attracted fewer players than 2010, the Pot-Limit Hold ‘em $10,000 Championship has been declining since 2006 anyway. Let’s be honest, and I’m speaking as a damned European here – is Pot-Limit Hold ‘em still a relevant game at all? Not to take anything away from Amir Lehavot.
2011 Event: #8, $1,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em
2010 Event: #3, $1,000 No-Limit Hold ‘em
2010 entrants: 4,345
Comments: This is the event that really surprised me. I was expecting a field of over 5,000 compared to the 4,345 of 2010. That said, last year’s event was the first truly open event (after the Casino Employees’ event and the $50,000 Players’ Championship) of the WSOP which will give numbers a great boost (see Omaha 8). A 4,000+ field is still great, though.
2011 Event: #9, $1,500 2-7 Single Draw
2010 Event: #14, $1,500 2-7 Single Draw
2010 entrants: 250
Comments: Yeah, we all saw this coming with the amount of 2-7 being played on Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars prior to Black Friday. Draw is the new Hold ‘em.