Will The Poker World Suffer from WSOP Overkill?

Recently, as we are all aware, the World Series of Poker made it’s first trip down under in what was considered to be an extremely successful foray into a new Asian Pacific market. The stars of the game came out in force, Daniel Negreanu made the headlines by winning the main event, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey and Ozzie’s own Joe Hachem, amongst many others, all made appearances. The event itself ran from April 4th to April 15th awarding 5 WSOP bracelets. The World Series of Poker as we know it, you know, that one it Vegas, which should really have it’s own distinguishing name now, kicks off on May 29th ending on July 15th with the Main Event playing out in September. The 2013 event will hand out a total of 62 bracelets, one more than last year as there will be a new High Roller bracelet up for grabs. Then we have the WSOP Europe in Paris in October and while we await the final schedule, there will of course be bracelet events. This begs the questions, whilst the WSOP is fantastic for the game of poker, are there a few too many events now? Has this lowered the value of the coveted WSOP bracelet?

Value - Each to Their Own

Doyle Brunson didn’t even pick 2 of his bracelets up, Johnny Chan has them all locked in a vault, Hellmuth gave 10 of his away to friends and family and Peter Eastgate auctioned his Main Event bracelet off for charity. To each player they mean something different. Leaving money aside, are the bracelets worth a lot less now to the players? Publicly, of course not, privately, I would imagine there’s a fair amount of discussion and jokes flying around after each series. To the 99.99% of us that will never own one, we’ll never know the non-monetary value of a bracelet and let’s be honest we would take a bracelet from Vegas, Melbourne, Paris or anywhere. The bigger question is whether or not the game will suffer from WSOP overkill. In my opinion the answer is no.

Headline Acts Don’t Play Small Gigs

The WSOP is the grammy’s of the poker world. The bracelet is the coveted number 1 billboard single, to put it bluntly why play a gig in a friend’s garage when you can play the Montreal Jazz Festival. The WSOP like nothing and noone else in the poker industry can and does provide that kind of stage for the world audience. It takes poker to a level that nothing else can, providing mainstream news coverage and giving poker fans a chance to see the stars in action, at the very highest level of the game. Without the WSOP other smaller series’ would not be afforded the same amount of column inches and they would not get the recognition they too deserve. The WSOP brings the stars of poker together and that spreads, it trickles down and the whole game benefits. On saying that, maybe 3 events is now enough and maybe the line needs to be drawn there. For those that may argue the WSOP big events do little for grassroots poker then think again, the WSOP has led to a million and one small events and there’s always the WSOP circuit events that bring the game to a city near you.

Marcus Harmon is the editor of Sunshine Poker Rooms a source of news and opinion on the game of Poker.