Saturday, December 23, 2006

WSOP Promotional Numbers Game Challenged by Poker Media

Lou Krieger alternately called it a 'little white lie,' and a 'fib,' referencing the topic in both a recent post and his latest 'Keep Flopping Aces' podcast, and sources such as Gambling911 and Dan Michalski at Pokerati have also chimed in on a certain matter in recent days. The problem? The convenient use of overly vague and optimistic attendance projections for the 2007 World Series of Poker, as Harrah's continues to try and upsell its corporate advertising slots and booth space for the periphery of the WSOP.

Yes, it's fallout from the UIGEA. Did you have any doubt?

It's connected to that dubious release affirming that the WSOP will no longer accept third-party registrations for the WSOP in 2007, stating that it didn't accept such registrations in 2005 or 2006, either. While that might possibly be true in some arcane, technical sense, everyone short of Mikey the Chimp knows that a statement such as the above ranks right up there with Bill Clinton saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

Collectively starring in the role of Monica Lewinsky were Party Poker, Poker Stars, Bodog, and virtually every other online poker room.

Giggle. Snort. Giggle some more.

Of course, the WSOP allowed third-party registrations. It's silly to even pretend otherwise.

But it all flies in the face of the attendance projections the WSOP insists on using as it hawks display and vendor space. The WSOP is using a source citing overly vague projections of between 2,000 and 12,000 Main Event participants, which may be a convenient way to allow the WSOP to keep boosting the price for vendor access, regardless of the fact that projections for '07 ME continue to hover in the 4,000's and 5,000's and would indicate the need for a decrease in vendor fees, not an increase. It's also something that could effect the major media outlets planning on covering the '07 WSOP, since they do tend to need to buy a small booth or have some other 'face' presence, just for appearance's sake. In that regard, it could be construed as a bit of a gouge. Exactly what those numbers are have not been released yet in their entirety, so there's at least a tiny chance that this conjecture could be wrong. If so, I'll be there to retract my words.

But it's all a bit dicey. The UIGEA swatted all of us, and yes, the law put a big hit on the World Series, if not to the extent that it affected certainly publicly-held international sites. That said, the WSOP shouldn't be trying to shift certain cost burdens onto others in a time of general need.

In the meantime, I'm still giggling.

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