Everyone speculated about whether or not the 2011 World Series of Poker would have the traffic necessary to make the series worth the time and money it takes to put it on and make it worthwhile to the players who do show up. Since Black Friday, many online poker blogs have been saying that with US players’ money tied up in their player accounts at the big three online poker rooms where they could no longer access their funds, they wouldn’t even be able to afford to travel to and then buy in to WSOP events.
There was also the whether or not poker players in other countries would even come, since they wouldn’t be able to play online while there. Many also speculated that the lack of satellites and WSOP packages given out by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars would hurt attendance, as well as the lack of sponsored players by these online poker brands, which would in turn cause players who would otherwise be given a free ride to pay their own ways. Or would the negative publicity that has been surfacing on a regular basis hurt WSOP traffic?
WSOP officials said they weren’t worried and had faith in the reputation of the tournament series. They were right. There has been little decline in attendance at the WSOP this year, and traffic for the most part has been up, though there has been decreases in overall attendance, but it’s not even enough to worry about.
Furthermore and despite the fact that the Nevada Gaming Board has prohibited any online poker site advertisements on the part of WSOP, many players are still sporting their PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker logos. The WSOP goes on.
There are however some big name poker pros who are avoiding the series including Phil Ivey, who says he will be boycotting the 2011 WSOP perhaps because he isn’t getting a free ride or maybe he just doesn’t want to answer any questions about the state of online poker in the US. Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer are not expected to show up either, as they are already MIA and likely fear being heckled by players for the money still unreturned by Full Tilt Poker.
Lastly, Tony G, poker pro associated with Party Poker, says he doesn’t want to deal with the head ache of the hole situation. He has been threatening avoidance of the WSOP though long before Black Friday because he wasn’t invited to play in the Tournament of Champions satellite last year.