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WSOP Heads Up Field Again Fails to Reach Maximum Field

The world’s biggest poker series has once again failed to deliver in the early stages. This is not the first time this happened, which left some to question if the series is losing some of its appeal or if some are just getting bored with poker.

Only 317 players entered the heads-up tournament which left the field with 61 byes to the second round, something that tournament organisers hate having to do because it means that some people have an easier route. In fact, those who received a bye just had to win two matches to cash.

This disappointing field follows on from the two previous events before it. Event one (the Casino employee´s tournament) and event 2 both drew in disappointing fields with event 2 (the $1500 No Limit Hold’em tournament) drawing less than half the expected field. The numbers picked up with the fourth event with 14 more players than last year, but these numbers were still down from the same event in 2010.

With the above in mind, the heads-up event was one that still managed to draw in several household names. Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, ElKy, Jeffrey Lisandro, Jake Cody and Jonathan Duhamel all brought into the tournament, but they all busted out before the cash.

Why the numbers have decreased

Obviously late events with poker in America (Black Friday) have stopped them from qualifying on the internet for these big tournaments and over recent years a lot of seats went to Americans who won seats online on one of the major sites.

The buy in’s for the tournament are steep. Therefore, buying in directly or trying to gain a satellite entry through an offline tournament is much harder than it is to qualify online.

Ever since Black Friday online poker has failed to regain the numbers, and this is understandable as the European and the Rest of the World market was already penetrated. However, many are expecting these numbers to receive a temporary boost with coverage of the WSOP hitting the screens and a recent law change in Spain.

Since Black Friday, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were all shut down, and the other major sites that survived stop American players signing up to their services.

The Main Event

With this in mind, the main event still has as many players as expected. In 2011, over 6500 people played in the main event, which was the third largest field of all time. It is expected that the 2012 event will have the same sort of numbers. Many are suggesting that roughly 6,200 will play this year. It is predicted that in just a few years, there could be more European players in the main event than Americans.

Other tournaments

It is expected that all the smaller no-limit events will fall between 8 and 10% this year, and this is something that has already been justified with the early tournaments. However, the mixed games will continue to increase as their numbers were low originally and the popularity of these games is still on the increase.

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