Why it’s important for the WSOP accept third-party registrations in 2007

by Lou on December 22, 2006

Let me begin this post by stating that I like Gary Thompson and applaud the World Series of Poker for managing to run events that have grown much larger than any of us would ever have imagined only a few years ago, and even though they may have stumbled along the way, at the end of the day Harrah’s deserves more kudos than complaints.

What Gary Thompson said in a recent interview
Nevertheless, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. In an interview conducted with PokecetFives.com, WSOP Communications Director Gary Thompson said:

“As in 2005 and 2006, Harrah’s will not be accepting third-party registrations from online poker sites (.com’s) that do business with U.S. residents. PokerStars.com and PartyPoker.com could not register players directly last year because they did business with American customers. Ladbrokes could because it wasn’t doing business with U.S. residents.”

Why his statement is not true
This is just not the case. I personally witnessed one online site that did plenty of business with U.S. customers register 75 players for an event. Just to make sure I hadn’t seen an isolated incident, I confirmed my findings with one of the higher-ups in Harrah’s who assured me that third party registrations were commonplace last year and the year before, and that the majority of entrants into the WSOP main event were handled as third-party registrations.

Why does it matter?
Why is this important? The predicted size of the playing field goes a long way toward setting exhibit space prices at the exposition and lifestyle show that sets up shop alongside the WSOP main event. Another reason it’s important is that until and unless Harrah’s decides on whether they will accept third-party registrations for 2007, the size of the field for the main event will be as up-in-the-air as their own predictions — and they are saying the field will range anywhere between 2,000 and 12,000 players, which isn’t really a prediction at all.

Why third-party registrations are critical to the success of thw WSOP’s main event
What I do know is that unless online sites can register players via the third-party route as they did last year and the year before, or can register them through some sort of subterfuge that will operate in lieu of a third-party registration, there’s little reason for them to run WSOP satellites. It’s on thing, after all, to provide a prepaid registration to an online satellite winner along with, say, airfare, a hotel room for a few days, plus while having to hope he books his flight to Las Vegas, checks into a hotel, and spends $10,000 of his winnings to enter the WSOP’s main event.

I wouldn’t think that more than one-third of players would actually enter the WSOP if they were given cash instead of a prepaid entry. Most would spend their money in the real world, rather than in a poker tournament. Moreover, with the kibosh being put on logo wear and other means of publicizing online sites, what is an online site’s motivation to serve as a feeder system for the WSOP, especially if they are precluded from taking a booth at the lifestyle show and using it as a means to recruit new online players and meet and greet any and all customers that might be attending the WSOP in person?

Only two more poker-playing days until Christmas; no more fibs, please
Right now there are only two poker playing days until Christmas and Santa is diligently watching everyone. So unless you want a lump of coal in your stocking, it doesn’t pay to tell fibs this time of year.

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