The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is winding down its 47th installment in Las Vegas this week, and there is plenty to celebrate as players and organizers pack their bags to head home.
After years of speculation and claims that poker was dying, it’s finally time to take the game off life support as it’s no longer needed.
Poker is indeed healthy.
And while some might continue to spread rumors that poker needs another Chris Moneymaker-type storyline to resurge interest, the truth of the matter is that the game remains wildly popular. Numbers don’t lie.
A record 107,833 entries were spread out across the WSOP’s 69 events in June and July. That’s a 4.2 percent bump on last year’s totals and marks just the second time in poker history that a tournament has eclipsed over 100,000 entries.
The World Series of Poker will award over $221.2 million when it’s all said and done, the third biggest prize pool in WSOP history.
“It’s bittersweet to close up poker’s version of the Olympics after such a successful and rewarding summer,” WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said. “We will get to work planning a bigger and better World Series of Poker in 2017 and on behalf of the entire WSOP team, thank all the players for making the 2016 version of this event the smoothest in our history.”
Main Event Comeback
The marquee $10,000 no-limit hold’em Main Event will be dwindled down to nine players today. Once the final table is decided, the WSOP will adjourn until October 30 when the November Nine commences.
It’s been a long week for the remaining finalists.
The event began with 6,737 entries, a much-welcomed five percent increase over 2015. It also marked the most entries for the Main Event in the last five years.
ESPN will dedicate three nights of live primetime coverage this fall to the November Nine and once again put the game front and center in the sports world. The eventual champ will collect $8 million of the $63.3 million prize pool, and the other eight will all be guaranteed to pocket at least $1 million.
Not bad for a couple weeks of work.
Bullish on Poker
The odds appear strong for this fall being a pivotal time for the game of poker.
As PokerSites.us has been reporting, Pennsylvania seems poised to pass online poker and Internet gaming when the state legislature returns in September. Looking to increase tax revenue, lawmakers in the Keystone State are relying on an expected $100 million that would be generated through iGaming licenses and other expansion.
A spending bill passed this month in Harrisburg referenced gambling as one potential option that could help aid in overcoming a projected $1-2 billion shortfall. In addition to online gambling, the expansion is expected to also put slot machines in Pennsylvania airports and certain off-track horse wagering facilities.
“Right now, Pennsylvanians who are playing these games online are at risk for fraud and abuse, and it’s nearly impossible to prevent children from gambling online or to protect problem gamblers,” State Rep. John Payne (R-District 106) said in a statement. “This legislation is needed to safeguard our children, our problem gamblers and our gaming consumers.”
In addition to Pennsylvania, legislation is being considered in other states including California and New York.