Just got my official form letter from Jeffrey Pollack — telling me the 2007 WSOP will begin June 1 … and with the main event starting on July 17, we’re looking at a Pokerpalooza* that could last a full two months.
I also just read this AP article, about how that new law we all love to hate may hurt the WSOP. The issue, of course, is not just the absence of thousands of players previously sent by the likes of PartyPoker, but moreso that Harrah’s — in an attempt to prove compliance with the UIGEA? — has said they will not take third-party entrants this year. Hence the predicted decline in the biggest historical indicator of poker growth … total entrants into the main event of the WSOP.
(Speaking of … check out the new poll on your righthand side. What do you think we’re lookin’ at?)
OK, anyhow, so the most peculiar thing I found in this article was from WSOP media honcho Gary Thompson:
Tournament spokesman Gary Thompson said since 2005, organizers have not accepted third-party registrations for the $10,000 buy-in main event from online gambling companies with U.S. operations, and that hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stopped it from attracting record fields.
Uhh, no third-party registrations since last year? I think about 6,000 competitors in the main event this year might disagree. (Can anybody get confirmation of this? I seem to remember hearing that about 2,600 players paid the $10k straight up … but can’t find a good blog-fact on it.)
While we love to give the suits at Harrah’s lots of hard times, some of which are occasionally deserved, Thompson is actually a pretty good egg … not one to feed you just the corporate line, and generally open to semi-constructive criticism. So he’s not one you’d expect to purposely spread disinformation. Reading on …
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In 2005 and 2006 we had record fields each year. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re confident again that 2007 will be the best one ever,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Thompson suggested that a loophole that allowed players who qualified online to pay their own entry fees directly, after being given the fees by online poker companies, would continue to pass muster with regulators.
Ahh, OK, so now it makes sense … Harrah’s is speaking semi-vaguely, hedging bets, not overly committing to anything. And/or are finding a way to back away from previous insinuations that online players were not longer going to be part of the WSOP game.
* I’ve got dibs on that phrase.