Attendance at the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament in Las Vegas has broken all previous records, indicating a massive interest in the game among American players. Across the 57 bracelet events so far in this poker tournament series, a total of 63,706 players have signed up, more than attended any of the last 40 WSOP events since the series began in 1970.
The Main Event is underway now. This $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship began on July 5. By the 17th just nine players will remain; they will then break until November 6 before playing the final table.
“We’re thrilled that poker enthusiasts from every corner of the globe have reinforced the World Series of Poker’s standing as one of the most popular competitive events anywhere,” said Ty Stewart, Vice President of the WSOP.
Numbers are up despite the sluggish economy. Even the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) on June 1 does not seem to have changed people’s passion for the game. This recent alteration to American gambling laws represents an attempt to make online gambling in the US more difficult. Contrary to media hype, the UIGEA does not make internet gambling in the US illegal.
The WSOP has strong connections with online poker sites in the United States. Many sites like Poker Stars hold satellite and qualifier tournaments, seeding out the best of the best and sending winners off to participate in WSOP events.
While many US players are attending the WSOP this year, registration from international players is also up. Many online poker sites award full prize packages to winners, giving them airfare, accommodation, and tournament buy-in money.