The World Series Of Poker Looks Like It Is Thriving, But Look Below The Surface

The World Series Of Poker had another record breaking year and remains the industry standard, In 2011, there was a record 75,672 entries compared to last year’s record of 72,966. This year was up 3.7 percent of last year. Also, the prize pool set a record in 2011 with a whooping $191,999,010 dollars compared to last year’s previous high of $187,109,850. This was also an increase of 2.6 percent. These numbers make you think everything is fine and dandy in the poker world.If you take a look a little deeper you can see that most predictions of the turn out for this years tournament were deeply understated. In fact, they broke records as mentioned above. So Black Friday did not have the impact some thought it would. Despite thousands of players angry after three of the four sites failed to reimburse them even after the government cleared the way to do so. Many thought players might not be able to afford WSOP buy-ins because of the online poker crackdown. We believe the predictions were a year early. With sponsorship down and less fish playing online poker these days the sharks are not going to make much cash for buy ins. It just has not been long enough for the losses to kick in.The television portion of the tournament has definitely taken a commercial hit. It’s not surprising because the owners of these sites were huge sponsors especially Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker. If you have been watching the tournament on television you will see their logos are not on the players either. Even the UFC events don’t have these sponsors anymore. If ratings are down this year they can lose even more sponsors. One good thing is GoDaddy has signed on this year to be a sponsor and maybe that is a good sign.The bottom line is next year is the year to worry about. If poker players cant find online poker sites that accept players from the US, then they could lose interest and take up different hobbies. Even if their desire is to play, but there is no place online, they may get frustrated. Either way the lack of US poker sites is a problem and the fact these players have not had there funds returned to them is another. The environment over the next year can really get bad.So how do we fix it and keep the greatest tournament in the world? That is not going to be an easy one. Here are some thoughts. First, if the government is prosecuting the operators of these poker sites criminally, then they should also pursue the funds being returned to the players just as vigorously. The poker players were not breaking any laws and their funds should be returned. Second, there needs to be a law that legalizes online poker at the very least if not all of gambling. The law makers should not play politics with this situation. It is time to get past the Indian gaming lobby and help the players. Until we get more poker sites accepting US players the game is in trouble and so is the tournament.