The 2013 WSOP is just about half way through, but there is still plenty of action left. In total there have been 39 events completed out of the 64 on the schedule. I have witnessed almost all of the final tables and have noticed a drastic change from the past few years.
The last 2 years have seen a slight decline in interest at the WSOP. With the American government, once again shutting down some of the major poke rooms to its public, it seems Americans in general have lost interest in poker altogether.
Many of the seats that were taken at the WSOP have been satellite entries gained by winning online tournaments. With the absence of these low buy in chances to enter a very expensive tournament, fewer players were willing to shell out the lofty buy ins just to play a tournament.
While the lack of entrants over the past few years was one of the changes, there are many other differences at this year’s WSOP that are a good sign of things to come and a reassurance that poker is alive and kicking in the United States and the rest of the world.
Canadians can play poker, and play it well
The first thing to note is the presence of Canadian players this year. They have taken almost a ¼ of the bracelets thus far and have been in the running for many more. Never before has this country made such noise at a poker event and it’s a sign that they are increasing their interest in poker and becoming the next hot spot for a poker boom.
The skill level is high
In past years the gap between an amateur and pro was not all that much. It wasn’t uncommon to see an amateur win a bracelet and it happened on a regular basis. Within the last year or however, there has been a major increase in the skill level of the pros.
This could be contributed to the influx of online players playing more live tournaments, but one thing is certain, an amateur stands little to no chance at winning a bracelet this year. There have been a few that made final tables, but the difference in play between a pro and an amateur are light years apart.
30 is old for a poker player
The young guns have taken over the sport of poker and there is no denying this fact. Aside from the big name pros like Hellmuth, Ivey and Kid Poker, the average age of a bracelet winner is in the mid 20’s.
There have been some older players make some final tables, but you can a serious difference in their demeanor at the table. Sitting through a 2,000 player field of players for 3 or 4 days in not exactly an easy task. By the end, you can notice the older players are just ready to get it over with while the young kids have plenty of Red Bull stamina to play for hours on end.
People still love Hold Em
Many advocates of poker have felt that Hold Em was becoming boring and a game that has lost its flare and appeal. A good many pros have made the switch to playing Pot Limit Omaha and other games in recent years. While the pros are good at all game, Hold Em has always been the mainstay for the majority of players.
This is evident with the number of Hold Em tournaments in this year’s WSOP schedule. Almost 2/4 of the tournaments are Hold Em related and most with low buy ins to suit the needs of players. Some pros have complained about this fact, but it’s obvious with the number of people playing these tournaments, that most of us want to play Hold Em.
Poker is definitely not dead
The biggest thing I’ve noticed this year is that Americans still love poker and it’s making a big comeback in the states. Not to mention the increase of foreign players at the WSOP, poker all over the world is huge.
The entries are up across the board and number of online players making the jump to live play is astounding.
I truly feel that live poker is going to be the next poker boom. With little options for Americans to play online, many have been making the switch to live play. With casinos popping up in every state these days, the chance to play live poker is becoming easier.
It’s clear that poker is still a big part of the gambling landscape and isn’t going to fade away like many have once thought. This is good news for everyone, not just the American market. With more players at the tables than ever, things are looking good and hopefully the entire world will be re-united online and be able to play against one another again.