A Look Ahead at Poker Tournaments in 2010

  • Comments: (2)
  • Published January 4th, 2010 in Poker

2009 saw the unfortunate carry-over of shrinking attendance for major poker tournaments. The first signs of decline began in 2008 -coinciding closely with the economic crash-and attendance numbers continued to dwindle in 2009. At first players would pin the blame on a certain casino, or tournament structure, but as tournament after tournament saw declining numbers, the problem became all to evident. In addition to the tough economic times, there are numerous other reasons for smaller tournouts:

  • An increase in the number of poker tours around the world

With a new poker tour popping up virtually every few months, the ability to draw huge crowds to any one tournament became harder and harder. At certain points in 2009 there were upwards of three main events taking place within days of each other. And with each poker tour being sponsored by different online poker sites, these sites tend to send their own contingent of sponsored players.

  • A decrease in television exposure for major poker tournaments

Unless a new format or innovation in televised poker is introduced, it would appear that poker on television has run its course. At one point poker was definitely the flavor of the month, but that time seems to be in the past. While it’s unlikely televised poker will disappear, the days of growing ratings and prime-time slots would appear to be over.

  • An increase in huge “Guaranteed” prize-pool online poker tournaments

With the accessibility of online poker tournaments, it’s little wonder that poker enthusiasts would rather sit at home and enter the PokerStars Sunday Million than travel halfway around the country, or globe, to take part in a 7-day tournament event -having to pay for travel, food, and lodging, in addition to dishing out 10 times the entry fee.

Besides the Sunday million and other weekly tournaments, players can also participate in PokerStars WCOOP or SCOOP, or Full Tilt Poker’s FTOPS or Mini-FTOPS: These tournament series have prize pools rivaling any major online poker tournament sans the WSOP Main Event.

Despite my doom and gloom outlook so far there is a ray of hope, many in the poker industry can also envision a brighter outlook for 2010:

  • PartyGaming, with their huge revenue stream, purchased the World Poker Tour
  • Innovative ideas saw a surge in attendance: Including smaller buy-ins and guaranteed prize-pools
  • One of the most noteworthy World Series of Poker took place in 2009, which should create a tremendous buzz about 2010

In the long-run, for poker as a whole to continue its growth, major poker tournaments must also thrive and prosper -it is these tournaments, and the big paydays they offer, that bring new players into the folds of the poker world, and without new players the poker community would start to contract, with sharks feeding on each other.

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  • Posted in: Poker
  • Comments: 2
  1. Cyril said on January 5th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Nice post. I agree with most of it, but I have the feeling that you underestimate the potential of smaller-buy-ins events.
    Here in Europe, we have seen this year several brand new Tours, such as European Masters of Poker (Entraction), Unibet Poker Open and others, with stops in almost every European countries.
    All of these events offer tournaments in the $1,000 range (sometimes less), with very good structures, and most of them got quite a good success (say, about 400-500 players at every stop). Of course, they are less glamour than WSOP, WPT or even EPT, but they attract people that would not go and play $5,000 events (and would not either have time to qualify for them).
    All of this will contribute to increase the popularity of the game, bring more people to it, and even create new stars, that you’ll see later on bigger events.

  2. A look ahead to poker for 2010 said on January 5th, 2010 at 11:01 am

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