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Caesars' Ty Stewart: WSOPE "Not a Moneymaking Endeavor"
This year the WSOP is firmly committed to putting on the best possible event in France but there are some intriguing options on the horizon.
“Honestly to me it all comes down the Main Event and whether we can achieve significant growth over last year,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.
Stewart went on to explain that the current WSOPE venue in Enghien-les-Bains is much closer to their original vision for the series with greater capacity and a huge population base nearby.
“I think it’s only fair to play out this festival and see the response from the players,” said Stewart.
“Barriere have been incredible partners for us. At the same time we recognize there’s some challenges to hosting a poker tournament in France.”
Stewart referred to the closed market for online poker and the ability to only run Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha games as ongoing issues.
Learning from Experiences in Cannes
If the WSOPE does move Stewart mentioned England and Spain as potential new locations.
“Returning to London is possible but only if we could do it in a much grander style more akin to what we’ve been able to achieve in France,” said Stewart.
“At the same time we can’t ignore THE hot market at the time, which is really Spain. I think that could be a natural evolution for WSOPE.”
Stewart admitted the WSOP had to learn from its experiences in Cannes, which saw a decline in attendance last year.
“We’ve always been very confident our brand will draw players no matter what,” he said.
“I think it was a moment we had to sit back and understand that’s not always the case, particularly now.”
Stewart admitted that not taking the World Championship of Online Poker into account was a serious oversight last year.
“Having a date that doesn’t conflict with the biggest online poker tournament series in the world was important to us this year,” he said.
Reflecting on Seven Years of WSOPE
It seems like only yesterday the World Series of Europe debuted at the Empire Casino in London but the series is rapidly approaching its 10-year anniversary.
“We came from very humble beginnings,” said Stewart.
“We were working from multiple venues in the beginning. We had tables under the stairs. You could hear slot machines and coffeemakers near the tables. We had to expect more.”
Despite the less-than-ideal circumstances Stewart still remembers the inaugural WSOPE fondly.
“For me the highlight moment of the WSOPE is still the first year and having Annette win because it was the perfect confluence,” he said.
“It was someone that wasn’t able to play in the US and a female. We ended up making news on the BBC. It showed what is possible with poker. It set the bar so high.”
Despite its prestigious history there are still a number of misconceptions about the WSOPE, according to Stewart.
“The one thing I can say about the WSOPE, and a lot of people don’t know this, but this is not a moneymaking endeavor for us,” he said.
“We spend more on video production than we take in fees for poker. This is really something we’re doing because we believe in the long-term vision of poker and we believe in the WSOPE brand.”
The 2013 WSOPE runs until October 25. Check the PokerListings 2013 WSOPE portal for exclusive coverage.