2010 WSOP Breaks Attendance Records

The field

Poker is alive and well, as the WSOP announced today that total attendance for the 2010 WSOP has already broken all previous records.

Attendance through 55 bracelet events is 63,706, breaking the previous record set at the 2009 WSOP, when 60,875 players registered for 57 events.

With two more events still to be counted, it appears that the 2010 attendance mark will break the record by a wide margin.

Even with the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the U.S. in 2006 and economic downturn around the world, interest in poker's biggest event is still booming.

"We're thrilled that poker enthusiasts from every corner of the globe have reinforced the World Series of Poker's standing as one of the most popular competitive events anywhere," said World Series of Poker Vice President Ty Stewart.

"This year's overall turnout continues to show the players' passion for playing on poker's biggest stage despite the continued sluggish economy."

A number of changes were made to the schedule for the 2010 WSOP including the inclusion of six $1k events and a change in format for the $50k Players Championship, which went back to playing exclusively No-Limit Hold'em at the final table for the ESPN cameras.

Poker's high-stakes community embraced the change, as attendance grew from 95 to 116 players for 2010.

That event seemed to set the tone for the pros, as nearly all of the $10k Championship events saw an increase in registration over 2009.

The pros also flocked to the new $25k Six-Handed No-Limit event, which drew 191 players despite the high buy-in.

"It actually got a better turnout than I expected," said Barry Greenstein.

"I thought it would only get about 100 players, because it's not televised. If it was televised it would be about 250."

While the pros have certainly turned out en masse at the 2010 WSOP, Jason Mercier suggests that an influx of international players is the biggest reason for the record-breaking registration numbers.

"I just think more people wanted to play this year," Mercier said.

"Interest in poker is growing in other countries. Not so much the in the U.S., but we may have had more European players this year."

The drama will now revolve around the registration numbers of the Main Event, which is set to begin July 5. The tournament drew 6,494 players in 2009.

That number was diminished by confusion over registration rules, as several players were turned away on Day 1d as the Rio Pavilion had reached the max number of possible entrants.

The 2010 WSOP continues through July 17. For comprehensive coverage of the WSOP tune in to PokerListings' Live Updates and News.

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