Day 7 of the WSOP is upon us and the 2012 champion should be crowned by week's end. Also, the first WSOP National Championship crowned a winner on Sunday. This year has seen numerous events added to the schedule of the WSOP. Most have been met with open arms and should be continued in the future. Most notable was the Big One for One Drop, which was the largest payout in sports history. It's nice to see that Harrah's is looking to keep the WSOP going and putting plenty of work into ensuring that it does not fade away.
As we all know, this past year has been a rough one for poker in the U.S. The WSOP has been one step ahead of the recent challenges to poker play in the U.S., it seems, by targeting other markets and keeping the event fresh. In my mind, the addition of the WSOP Europe was one of the best decisions made toward this fresh perspective. The European market has mainly gone untapped and could be in their own poker boom at the moment. The rush of overseas players at this year's WSOP is evidence that the WSOP marketing and ideas are working.
Photo of Shaun Deep from Pokerlistings.com
However, even with the new faces and languages at the WSOP, the Americans still dominate. Many of the online pros have begun to play more live tournaments and have had a year or so to make the adjustment. I'm sure they wish they could wear glasses that show a HUD in them, but they have made the transition quite nicely.
Of the many online pros, Shaun Deeb is starting to stand out from the crowd. The once "retired"-from-poker Deeb had little success at first, and this was seen as proof by many of the live pros that Internet players could not make the adjustment. This year is proving to be Deeb's breakout year, as he has had solid showings at the 2012 WSOP, not to mention his back-to-back wins in the PokerStars SCOOP event.
2011 seemed to be an off year for the WSOP, in part because the events of "Black Friday" seemed to overshadow what was going on at the tables. All anyone could talk about was the D.O.J. and the absence of pros such as Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer. It's sad that someone defrauding players took away from the grandeur of the WSOP, but such is life.
All seems back to normal this year and the future is looking brighter. Ivey made his return this year and had one of his best series ever. The usual suspects once again made their presence felt, adding to the charm of the WSOP. Seeing Hellmuth, Ivey and other big names in the hunt for bracelets allows the average fan to follow and pay attention to the event. There are many great pros who are great to watch if you know what’s happening, but many casual players and poker-TV fans only watch the WSOP for the big names they know. When those names aren't seen or talked about, casual fans pay less attention. Since the majority of those who watch the WSOP are this type of person, the buzz that surrounds it is dictated by the big names playing.
Photo of Phil Ivey & Phil Hellmuth from Pokerakademia.com
It's good to see such a nice showing and my hat goes off to Harrah's for what they have done this year. It's not often a poker room listens to its players and does what is in the players’ best interest. The directors of the WSOP are praised by most players for this aspect. They listen to what players want and make the event about them not just the money. Of course, they make money by having more players, but the fact that they actually implement the suggestions of players is what sets them apart.