It seems that poker is far from dead. After a dip in interest over the past few years, many fans wondered if poker just wasn’t as interesting as it once was. This has all changed with the most recent review of the attendance of the World Series of Poker Main Event. The review of the numbers has proved that the rumors of the death of poker were greatly exaggerated. This has led people to rethink the assumed slump of interest in the game after the poker boom of the 2000s.
A Barometer for Poker’s Popularity
The WSOP Main Event is all poker fans have been talking about as it is far and away the most popular event on the poker calendar. The buzz surrounding this big event makes it the perfect time to measure the interest the public has for the game.
Over 8,700 hopefuls entered the 2006 Main Event, which was in the middle of the poker boom and was seen as only the beginning. Fans never would have guessed that the field would remain unchallenged for the next decade. Players and fans alike probably expected the number of players to reach tens of thousands.
However, the growth of the industry was halted by varying factors. Attendance plummeted due to the passage of UIGEA and the exodus of poker sites from the USA. These, coupled with the disappearance of direct satellite feed, led to the resulting dip in interest in the game. The attendance immediately dropped the following year to just over 6,000 players. Thereafter, the turnouts were relatively level over the next decade or so.
The attendance was kept stagnant through the addition of outside influences such as the 2008 recession, and continuous prohibition of poker sites in most US states. The “poker is dead” assumption came from a combination of all these factors, as well as the disappearance of poker rooms in Las Vegas.
Things Are Looking Up
A paradigm shift has taken place over the last three years that shows that negative influences are loosening their grip on the poker industry. With 2019 being second to the highest-ever attendance in 2006, things are looking up, and analysts estimate a continuing positive trend.
This could be due to a number of influences, including the possibility of direct satellites causing a spike. The overall growth in US participation is worth mentioning as it seems to be growing at a continuous rate these past few years, which is certainly a good sign for the poker industry. If you compare recent years to the stagnant period between 2006 and 2016 when attendance remained around the same level, poker is slowly becoming the game to look out for.
The year 2016 saw a participation of 4,985, and this has increased gradually in the years following up to this year’s 6,110. If you look at the spike of attendance, things are looking up, and poker is far from being at death’s door.
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