It’s a Different World …

by , May 28, 2007 | 5:13 pm

Anyone who’s covered the entirety of any World Series in the poker-boom era knows that the Main Event is pretty much an altogether separate entity than the dozens of events leading up to it. The security is different, media is different, and even the fans are different. I think this funky little graph of the 2006 WSOP — where the bubbles represent the size of the prize pools in each event — illustrates the concept pretty well. Click the image below to enlarge:


x axis = event number
y axis = number of players
bubble = prize pool

What’s interesting is that, obviously, the number of online qualifiers has everything to do with the size of the ME. Last year, they represented 6,600 of the 8,800 entrants. But with the preliminary events, there were relatively very few getting in via online satellite. So I can’t imagine these lesser planets will change much at all this go-round.

For comparison’s sake, below is the same data charted for 1985 and 1975.

Size of WSOP Events: 1985

Size of WSOP Events: 1975

5 Comments to “It’s a Different World …”

  1. Mean Gene

    The only thing that might change that is that online sites can no longer register players who win Main Event seats. Those folks have $12K in their accounts and they might not be able to convince themselves or their significant others or their Church that they should blow the whole thing in the Main Event. But maybe they’ll take a little piece of it and play in a $1-2K event. They might be able to justify that better, plus they’ll only be investing a max of three or four days, instead of the 2 weeks for the Main Event. I guess time will tell the tale.

  2. VBDave

    I’m not sure I agree with you on this one Gene. The player knows they’re playing in a satellite for the main event when they enter. Did something cahnge between with their family or church in their point of view? If they want to play a $1,500 or $2k, then they can play a bracelet race event.

  3. DanM

    Dave, I gotta side immediately with Gene on this one. It takes a lot of effort to book trips, register, wait in lines, etc. Not worth it.

    Last year, I received cash for a $1,500 event … and it was a close call as to whether or not I would use it for the tourney. I did. But had it been $10k in cash? I probably woulda taken half of it to a cash table, or tried to satellite in with a couple thousand … but that simply woulda been too much for me to “gamble” with had I had the choice.

    Poker Stars simply deposited like $13k per main event qualifier in their accounts and said “good luck.” Wouldn’t be surprised if some of those folks never even ended up withdrawing the money.

  4. VBDave

    Thanks for the response Dan.

    I realize there are familial/other issues when it comes to playing in a 10k buy-in tournament when you could take the cash instead. I’m just saying if someone knows it’s going to be a hassle playing in the main event, don’t play in the satellites. There are tons of other cash tournaments to play. Main Event satellites were being played before it was known how they were going to paid. I don’t know the answer to this, but what did people do the last few years if they won a seat and couldn’t make it? What if this year, instead of crediting players’ accounts, they had a hospitality room at the Rio where qualifiers could show up to pick up their lammers?

    I’m going out to Vegas this Thu-Tue to play in some preliminary events. I have played tons of online qualifiers for big tournaments in the past, but didn’t even attempt main event qualifying the last few years because of the time commitment.

  5. John

    “they’ll only be investing a max of three or four days, instead of the 2 weeks for the Main Event”
    I agree, that’s too long for one event. Harrah’s should have all of the day ones on the same day by using more than one of their casinos. Then they wouldn’t need the first day off, saving three days.
    I also agree that given the choice I would be much less likely to buy into the main event in favor of a less expensive event with a few thousand less players.