The economy has stripped the World series of Poker of some of the momentum that had been created in previous years. The recession of 2008 came at a time when the WSOP was at its height of popularity, but with players being unable to afford long stays in Las Vegas, attendance dipped in recent years.
The overall event has still been attracting thousands of poker players from around the world. The main event, however, has seen a drop from the time when over 7,000 players participated. The economy has also made another aspect of the WSOP extremely popular, circuit events.
Each year, preliminary tournaments are held at casinos and bars throughout the US. The circuit events usually cost a fraction of what the actual entry fee to the WSOP tournament would be. In some cases, the preliminary tournaments are even free to enter.
It is no easy task winning a seat into a WSOP tournament. Players in most cases must usually first win the preliminary tournament, and then subsequently win several other tournaments before being awarded the ultimate prize of a free entry to a WSOP event, should the player survive.
The 2011 WSOP is only a couple of weeks away, and that means that many of the play-in tournaments are concluding this weekend. Players on the cusp of landing a seat in the biggest poker event in the world are on edge as they sit down at tables, with the outcome possibly life-changing.
“Some of the best players in the game today have come through these tournaments,” said Mark Fowler, one of 100 players remaining in one Florida circuit event, with a WSOP main event seat on the line. “I have just as good a chance as anybody in this room, so hopefully it works out.”
The WSOP officially begins on Tuesday, May 31st with the annual Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em event. The first-ever, Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship, with a maximum of 256 players, will also begin on Tuesday.