Posts Tagged ‘pokerati data journalism’

2014 WSOP: Year of the Young Adult?

by , Nov 10, 2014 | 1:32 pm

The latest incarnation of the November Nine gets underway in a few hours, and as per usual there’ll be talk of poker’s “young guns” dominating the big-money prize spots. The old man at the table this year is Bruno Politano, topping out the field chronologically at the crotchety age of 32.

However, while all the remaining players this year may be young, they’re not exactly kids … at least not the way they were in 2010 or 2011.

Maybe it’s just semantics, but what’s different this year is the absence of any player who’s already embarked on a fifth decade of life (a requirement to be in the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame, fwiw) thereby skewing the average. Also 2014’s population of young non-rookies makes for the first year where all competitors at the final table are of an age more comparable to what you’d see in more traditional professional sports.

Here’s a look at how the average age at the WSOP main event final table has changed over the years in the November Nine era. Additional data is below.


Happy Birthday, Sheldon Adelson!

by , Aug 4, 2014 | 4:40 am

Sheldon Adelson turns 81 today, which makes him still just a kid according to my grandmother. We of course all know Adelson is a wealthy man, but I didn’t realize he was the richest person in Nevada (like by far). I mean sure, he woulda made my shortlist if you asked, but I didn’t really place his economic stature in context until seeing this bit of data porn showing who has the largest net worth by state.


So what do you get a man who has everything? OK, maybe Adelson doesn’t have everything, but he does have more personal wealth than the GDP of nearly 100 independent nations. He has so much money ($35.7 billion) that he could singlehandedly pay off ALL of Caesars’ debt and still have more than $12 billion left over — enough to still be the richest person in Nevada, as well as 34 other American states. Sooo … maybe just close your eyes and make a wish?

2 Months, 250 Million*

by , Sep 17, 2013 | 2:08 am

Summer poker tournaments in Las Vegas generate nearly a quarter-billion dollars worth of prize money, Pokerati data crunchers have found. (Thanks Thea in the Philippines!)

It really is about more than just the World Series. Sure the tournament brand proudly owned by Caesars Interactive may have started it all, but now you’ve got Venetian Deep Stacks, the Wynn Classic, Binion’s Classic, Aria Classic, Rio Deep Stacks, Caesars Megastacks, Bellagio Cup … the list goes on … but all are competing for players, and apparently all you need is a casino property and a poker cliche … and maybe 110-degree weather outside, and voila — tournament success awaits!

LOLs notwithstanding, to better understand the impact of live events on the poker economy, and to assess the scope of WSOP and non-WSOP summertime Vegas action, we looked at 13 different series(es?) held at 10 different casino properties from mid-May through mid July … accounting for 722 tournaments total, nearly 230,000 entries (not to be confused with number of players) … making for more than 1,000 tournament days (whoa, that’s a lotta staff somebody’s gotta manage) in just one city.

And upon looking a little deeper (scroll horizontally) we found how:

  • Caesars clearly dominates across low, middle, and high stakes tournament levels — with the 312 tournaments they operate accounting for 43 percent of the action we looked at, but 88 percent of the available prize pools
  • Bellagio tourneys may be in a different league of high-dollar play, but even with WPT-branded events, total prize pools under MGM Resorts’ umbrella tally a relatively paltry $10 million
  • Venetian held 212 tournaments, with some 32,000 entries generating about $14 million in prize money (after raking about 14 percent)
  • With an average buy-in of $185, Rio Deepstacks accounted for 70,000 tournament entries, and $12 million in prize money
  • The Hollywood Poker Open was notable, but probably also an outlier; still, might this one-off just before the WSOP main event reveal a possible a soft spot in the tournament economy at the $2,500 level in late June?


Portrait of a Recreational Player?

by , Aug 20, 2013 | 10:59 am

It’s been a while since Pokerati’s had anything to do with my personal bankroll. And I’m not sure that’s really a direction I wanna take this ship as we navigate new poker waters. But I suppose now’s as good a time as any to hold myself accountable, pokerwise, because even though “the dream” has long dissipated, I do still wanna someday be a winning player able to move up in stakes.

But look at my 2013 bankroll numbers, and ya know what I see? Losing player, LOL? Ha ha, no … Forget for a second that this chart belongs to me, personally, and how removing from my playbook the overcall with unsuited connectors in the small blind could be all that stands between me and two trips to Hawaii … forget all that … because what I think you’re really seeing here is the profile of a so-called recreational poker player:

Totals $ hrs rate
Blackjack 306 41.14 $7.44
NL Cash -1,751 43.33 -$40.41
Tourney 302 6.5 $46.46
Prop Bet 380 xx $95.00

Recreational players are supposedly all the buzz these days … but do serious players and an industry intent on courting them even understand what that really means? A quick study of the above and you can probably see why I stand in solidarity with McDonald’s workers … but beyond that, we’re looking at a poker life that means about 11 hours a month in casinos, a few tournaments (nothing to brag about, but I did take down a Stratosphere nightly), some casual prop bets, a penchant for at least one house-edge table game … all tallying up to a net negative akin to what it might cost if I were playing similarly recreational tennis or golf or fishing.

Hmm, I suppose that’s psychologically why I’m able to keep coming back for more … because sure I can see the numbers, but also I know I can do better, and maybe next time I will get less unlucky.

History of Nevada Poker Revenues

by , Mar 27, 2013 | 4:26 pm

UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research put out some data collected from NGCB’s Gaming Revenue Reports that paints a rather interesting picture of the poker world over the past 20 years. The chart you can see here — showing the number of poker rooms, the number of tables, and total rake — pretty much tells the story of poker … and I couldn’t help but want to graph it!

History of NV poker revs

What I’m not sure of is whether or not these numbers include tournament entry fees or represent only cash game collections. But either way, even with the WSOP finding creative ways to report definitive growth year over year, I’m fairly certain the shape of both graphs would look pretty much the same.

Numbers Game

by , Feb 12, 2013 | 5:58 pm

Eff the Tea Party … my dream is someday for a P-Party … because really, we all know it, Poker is more than just a game … it’s a belief system, a religion if you will … an outlook on life and cards that transcends everything we do. And we all remember from our days playing Party Poker (with accounts funded by Netteller) that this game we play, this recurring exchange of virtual currency with two cards yet to come, is the KEY to a bustling economy and/or world peace!

Among registered voters, 76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats say they gamble. Here's a look at the states that get their spend. Destinations to which Texans have travelled to visit a casino include.

76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats say they gamble, either in Texas or another state.

OK, ok … before I get ahead of myself and any poker relevancy, there’s a singular issue at hand in Texas right now … and it’s about money, civil rights, and freedom — all part of a message that seems to resonate with an electorate that may or may not be currently stockpiling guns. But first they need some data to show what we all have known to be true deep down inside. Thus, pro-gambling reformers in Texas are championing a new study that reveals Texans — GOP primary voters in particular — overwhelmingly support whatever it is that might-could allow for better game selection closer to home.

Here’s the report. (More about the data and methodology here.) And below is a summary of the semi-scientific study that essentially challenges GOP lawmakers who might be thinking about roadblocks to go ahead … press your luck and fall on the side of ignoring the will and interest of an engaged supermajority.


Modest Recovery Continues to Show in Gaming

Welcome-to-Nevada-pokerNevada’s casino industry posted its third straight annual gaming revenue increase in 2012 as the industry continues its modest recovery amid a sluggish economy.

Analysts noted the results were helped by high-end baccarat play, the game that has bolstered the industry’s bottom line since Las Vegas companies began doing business in Macau in 2004.

Statewide, casinos collected $10.86 billion in gaming revenue in 2012, a 1.5 percent increase over $10.7 billion in 2011.

“We are slowly increasing revenues,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. “We are still 15.5 percent below the peak in 2007, but we are gradually moving in the right direction.”

Nevada gaming revenues were $12.8 billion in 2007, Lawton said. On the Strip, gaming revenues increased 2.3 percent over 2011 with casinos collecting $6.2 billion, marking a second straight year revenues topped $6 billion.


New Poker World Order [Maps]

by , Dec 17, 2012 | 5:44 am

The World Poker Tour made its Chinese debut this weekend at the MGM Grand in Sanya. That’s some 400 miles down shore from Macau, where PokerStars recently hosted the inaugural “Asia Championship of Poker”, and next month will hold something similar called the Red Dragon. These events come just as Caesars, unable to get properly licensed in China, is officially retreating from the Communist gamblers’ promised land.

Meanwhile, Stars is apparently trying to  get (back?) into North America by buying a distressed brick-and-mortar casino in storm-ravaged New Jersey — this according to an announcement that may or may not have been conveniently timed to steal buzz from a WSOP circuit event going on in Atlantic City.

Game of Risk: Live Poker in an Online Age
Redrawing the Battle Lines

Game of Risk: Live Poker at the Dawn of the 21st Century

Check out how the three biggest brands in poker (and the online gaming sites behind them) stack up against each other. I make no claims of these maps being to scale nor anything more than “pretty accurate, I think,” but look past my amateur cartography to see how three Poker World superpowers — the biggest American casino corporation, the biggest European internet gaming company, and the biggest “offshore” online poker operator — have been competing fiercely to corner your neighborhood tournament market.

 WSOP / Caesars / 888
 WPT / BwinParty / MGM Resorts /

See below to for some historical perspective on how the current live-tourney landscape took shape over the first decade of the 21st century.


Will IveyPoker Become America’s Team?

by , Nov 8, 2012 | 3:24 am

Was just checking the GPI … with particular interest in the standings for American Player of the Year … you know, Election Day.  Actually I was curious to see, among other things, what kind of impact a WSOP main event had on player rankings. (Greg Merson moved up.)

But what stood out to me were the poker teams … and the presence of newcomer IveyPoker.

#8 Daniel Negreanu Pokerstars 768.40
#9 Jason Mercier Pokerstars 766.72
#10 Bertrand Grospellier Pokerstars 752.53
#11 Joseph Cheong 748.61
#12 Jonathan Duhamel Pokerstars 741.24
#13 Michael Watson 720.35
#14 Mohsin Charania 718.52
#15 John Juanda 714.42
#16 Phil Ivey Ivey Poker 713.44

Long gone are the days of Full Tilt and PokerStars commandeering the WSOP main event final table. But will an online site bearing the name of the 11th best American this year be able to step in and successfully fill the Full Tilt void for US players?


The Nguyens Have It!

by , Jul 21, 2012 | 3:53 am

Spoiler alert: If you’re into bar trivia with poker players and/or students of transcontinental nomenclature , you might wanna close your eyes and squint with your hand covering the bottom part of the screen … because this post, just a few lines down, will reveal the answer to a rather fascinating list type of question, if not officially establish who is truly the First Family (Extended) of Poker:

What’s the winningest surname in poker?

A kind lady or gent at the Hendon Mob pressed a few buttons to confirm some of our guesses (and maybe yours, too) while revealing perhaps a few surprise names … and creating a list that, frankly, shows why making the November/October Nine really does matter moreso than pretty much any other final table in poker — even if your last name isn’t Heinz, Yang, Eastgate, or Staszko.

Most Winningest Last Names in the Database

# Last Name Number of Players Total Winnings
1st Nguyen 724 $58,486,178
2nd Tran 351 $32,706,817
3rd Smith 838 $32,665,771
4th Esfandiari 1 $23,245,828
5th Lee 605 $21,622,437
6th Le 240 $21,112,311
7th Mizrachi 8 $18,624,760
8th Hansen 116 $18,241,708
9th Williams 394 $17,857,169
10th Seidel 9 $17,009,914
11th Kim 386 $16,961,577
12th Ivey 10 $16,773,558
13th Trickett 3 $16,474,737
14th Negreanu 1 $16,199,968
15th Hellmuth 2 $16,129,852
16th Pham 165 $15,546,374
17th Chan 161 $13,091,677
18th Phillips 156 $13,065,410
19th Gold 45 $13,028,974
20th Phan 100 $12,479,193
21st Juanda 1 $12,419,828
22nd Hachem 5 $12,405,442
23rd Brown 442 $12,310,085
24th Schwartz 102 $12,246,152
25th Johnson 480 $12,067,495
26th Cunningham 69 $11,907,403
27th Mortensen 17 $11,570,325
28th Eastgate 1 $11,127,554
29th Cloutier 8 $11,046,507
30th Duhamel 2 $11,033,291
31st Wong 228 $10,324,102
32nd Miller 400 $10,281,188
33rd Grospellier 1 $10,024,924
34th Brunson 6 $9,862,132
35th Deeb 6 $9,802,789
36th Cohen 200 $9,744,700
37th Cada 1 $9,312,211
38th Mercier 16 $9,185,378
39th Binger 2 $9,151,708
40th Jones 402 $9,116,285
41st Chen 170 $9,101,035
42nd Ferguson 54 $8,952,334
43rd Heinz 2 $8,895,549
44th Yang 76 $8,833,236
45th Martin 294 $8,778,894
46th Lindgren 13 $8,754,310
47th Young 213 $8,344,999
48th Brenes 7 $8,324,683
49th Shulman 9 $8,209,621
50th Matusow 4 $7,995,344
51st Wasicka 2 $7,848,665
52nd Liu 133 $7,839,421
53rd Greenstein 4 $7,824,081
54th Davis 317 $7,785,865
55th Hall 186 $7,744,133
56th Chiu 18 $7,624,502
57th Fox 101 $7,590,048
58th Moore 194 $7,471,896
59th Racener 1 $7,399,133
60th Harrington 39 $7,385,910
61st Baker 176 $7,272,881
62nd Seed 1 $7,271,232
63rd Katchalov 1 $7,162,776
64th Raymer 3 $7,018,909
65th Forrest 15 $6,971,049
66th Clark 199 $6,897,689
67th Kelly 137 $6,872,539
68th Lamb 33 $6,859,875
69th Demidov 3 $6,821,514
70th Baldwin 40 $6,789,092
71st Jensen 101 $6,657,411
72nd Lederer 5 $6,585,143
73rd Carter 114 $6,565,006
74th Griffin 52 $6,557,616
75th Lam 102 $6,552,448
76th Habib 13 $6,497,663
77th McDonald 106 $6,450,391
78th Perry 97 $6,437,309
79th Keller 46 $6,367,012
80th Sexton 28 $6,341,341
81st Wilson 283 $6,297,913
82nd Benyamine 2 $6,251,579
83rd Ma 50 $6,127,353
84th Levy 96 $6,100,933
85th Roberts 161 $6,086,072
86th Arieh 2 $6,066,192
87th Taylor 297 $6,056,132
88th Cheong 14 $6,049,682
89th Ulliott 1 $6,011,126
90th Gordon 95 $6,002,862
91st King 175 $5,867,201
92nd Schulman 11 $5,859,777
93rd Liebert 3 $5,849,630
94th Corkins 2 $5,820,670
95th Rheem 1 $5,819,766
96th Ly 79 $5,669,412
97th Khan 62 $5,650,851
98th Thomas 240 $5,649,017
99th Staszko 1 $5,589,365
100th Scott 150 $5,568,693

Rio’s Non-Bracelet Dailys Reach New Levels with Record Field sizes

by , Jun 23, 2011 | 9:28 pm

I sparred a bit on Twitter with @TurboPokerOnlin about his belief that record fields in WSOP 1k’s would be a “major” story … and eventually conceded that it might-would probably come in at #9. (NOTE to self: Do a “WSOP Top Ten Stories” post.)

But what I didn’t expect as a top story that now is .. the non-bracelet daily “deepstacks” at the Rio — specifically the $235 2pm event. Say what you will about the value in playing in a tournament with 20 percent rake … this event has more people talking about it, multiple times a week, every week, consistently, probably moreso than any other at the WSOP. It started off with a few hundred players each day (nice), and soon began drawing more than 600 (kinda wow) … and then 800 (for sure wow) and then just a few days ago (OMG!) 1,100 — a record field size for such a non-bracelet event at the WSOP. The suits, we can suspect, are practically speechlessly giddy.

Rio Daily DeepStack Field Sizes

There’s an old axiom in poker room operations that “action breeds action.” To some extent, the whole World Series is testament to the concept … and these Venetian Deep Stacks Knockoffs show it in microcosm. No wonder Caesars eventually began catering to “smaller” customers wanting a low-cost taste of the WSOP while playing for more than just satellite tokens.

When all is said and done, more than a football stadium worth of people will have dropped a couple hundred bucks into mini-WSOP events that are becoming less and less mini … whether that be in spite of, or because of, all the similar such tourneys — Venetian Deep Stacks, Caesars Palace MegaStacks, the Golden Nugget Grand Series, Binion’s Somethingorother Classic, the WynnSOP Whatever … I think I’m even missing a few others — that came before what’s currently going on at the Rio.

Action breeds action. At the WSOP and all over Vegas … Click below for more detailed numbers about how the Rio’s 2p $235, 6p $185, and 10p $135 have grown by the day:

(Special thanks to Heath @WSOPIntern for the data help. Can you do 3-D graphs?)


State of Nevada Super Bowl Numbers

Casino sports books barely win with Green Bay victory

by , Feb 16, 2011 | 1:42 am

Not super-pokery, but poker players definitely like to bet on sports … and the gamble-wonky might find it interesting what the following data reveals about the economy … let alone the role of sports betting in American culture and the spread.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board released the state’s take on the Super Bowl last week from its 183 sports books. $87.5 million. Not a totally shocking number — bigger than the last two years but nowhere near the glory days of 2006 … and the state lost money in ’08. But what was surprising to me is how much Nevada won — a mere $724k … less than 1 percent of money wagered, and the second smallest amount won by the state in the past decade. I mean she-ot … that’s less than a single Phil Ivey prop bet!

Check out the stats, and discern for yourself …

super bowl sportsbook betting

International Poker Affairs

2010 WSOP World Standings Rankings

by , Jun 25, 2010 | 3:16 pm

In case you’re just catching up … one of the big stories at this year’s WSOP has been the apparent surge of non-American players on the bracelet stage … at least that’s what I thought when I heard Hungary had won its second … and that the UK locked down a 5th. (The Brits got shut out in ’08, and won three gold bracelets in ’09.)

So far in 2010, through 41 (of 57) events, 14 bracelets have gone to foreign poker nationals … or 34 percent. I’m not sure how that compares with the percentage of non-American players in the worldwide WSOPopulation … but my guess is the number could be disproportionate in one direction or the other.  (The WSOP says they’ll eventually get that stat.)

Last year 15 out of 57 bracelets went to non-Americans, and in 2008, poker players not from the USA won 16 out of a possible 55. So we’re actually kinda in the same ballpark this year, though foreigners are on track to exceed previous results.

Click here to follow the WSOP World Rankings on, which isn’t too different from the WSOP World Standings you presumably began following on Pokerati in ’08 and ’09, except now they’ve got cool little flags and we’ve got a little note to self on making better friends with patent attorneys.

Country Bracelets Cashes Earnings
United States 27 3,766 $56,122,111
Canada 4 311 $6,240,515
United Kingdom 5 151 $5,068,138
Russia 1 72 $2,971,461
Germany 0 70 $1,571,634
France 1 70 $1,215,580
Hungary 2 16 $871,022
New Zealand 1 2 $619,999
Sweden 0 31 $512,426
Ireland 0 20 $415,358

Some National Poker Week Numbers

by , Jul 23, 2009 | 10:41 am

Many of you often give me a hard time because of my aversion to “statistics” and “data” … and though generally I don’t care about appeasing the peons “readers”, I found some of this info below on the “interesting” and “informative” side.

So let’s kick it Harper’s Index-style, shall we?

Poker-related letters sent to members of Congress in July 2009: > 150,000
Poker-related letters sent to Congress in 2008: 77,000
Issues other than health care reform that have generated more letters to Congress in 2009 (including war in Iraq, recession, and gas prices): 0
Meetings scheduled between PPA representatives and Congressional offices in a two-day period: 110
Meetings missed by either PPA reps or Congressional staffers: 6
Number of lobbyists engaged in National Poker Week initiative: about 40
Number of consulting firms retained: 7, I think
Number of Players in the PPA tournament benefitting the USO: 180ish
Wounded vets competing: 31
Patients who qualified for seats via semi-regular tournaments at Walter Reed Hospital: 25
Money donated by the PPA to the USO up front: $25,000
Amount added to donation from $100 rebuys: $10,000
Rebuys from Annie Duke: 15
Rebuys from Howard Lederer: > 10
Rebuys for veterans put up by the Interactive Gaming Council: 10
Noted poker pros competing: Not totally sure, but probably about 10-15
Members of Congress competing: 7
Highest finish by a wounded Iraq war veteran: 1st

(Way) Inside the WSOP

Everything you wanted to know about Day 3-4 and way more

by , Jul 11, 2009 | 9:45 am

Elky: Chipleader at the end of yesterday, sure … but what has he done lately?

There’s so much good stuff in here it’s hardly even excerptible. Nolan’s Official Day 3 Report (with help from Alan Fowler) gives you not just insight about who stands where in chips, but also info on records in play, historical perspective on how far being a chip leader early can take you, a breakdown of what countries are performing admirablybeing broken, an interview with celebrity big-stack (and Lodge poker alum) Lou Diamond Phillips, and a reference to how far he has to go to pass Telly Savalas:

Click below for all the data fit to cut-and-paste:

2009 World Series of Poker Presented by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

Official Report
Event #57
World Championship
World Series of Poker Main Event
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $10,000
Number of Entries: 6,494
Players Remaining: 789
Total Net Prize Pool: $61,043,600
Number of Places Paid: 648
First Place Prize: $8,546,435
July 3–November 10, 2009