WSOPE £1k: Drawing the Punters

Last year’s WSOPE £1k winner JP Kelly.

With 202 players hitting the Empire Casino felt for the first of three starting days, the WSOPE’s £1,075 No-Limit Hold'em event is poised to break records in London.

“The weekend is coming up and a lot of people are still getting to town,” said WSOP Media Director Seth Palansky. “We expect to break 800 players.”

Should that many get in on the action, it would surpass Last year’s EPT London event, which set the record for the largest poker tournament ever held in the UK at 730 players.

PokerStars UKIPT Nottingham also came close to breaking the record this year, drawing 650 players to the Dusk ‘Till Dawn poker room just outside of London, proving UK poker is still on the rise.

And now one of the World Series of Poker’s “affordable” buy-in events, first designed to attract the masses and stimulate the poker economy, appears ready to set a new attendance mark on this side of the pond.

The Vegas edition of the WSOP had held $1k events in the past, but the start of the poker boom in the US brought in what seemed like an insatiable appetite for bigger buy-in events.

The $1k’s were taken off the schedule, until the worldwide economic slowdown of the past few years forced WSOP organizers to act.

A new $1k "stimulus special" event was created for the 2009 WSOP and promptly sold-out at 6,012 players.

Just as organizers had hoped, the event broke all previous records for entrants outside of a Main Event, smashing the previous record of 3,929 players in a $1,500 event in 2008.

This year, the WSOP featured a number of $1k events littered throughout the schedule, and while none broke the record from 2009, each successfully drew thousands to the RIO every weekend.

Palansky says the events were designed to attract the punters in a new poker economy and last year, a field of 608 mostly commoners filled the Empire for the WSOPE’s first £1k.

True to form, as they reach the late stages on the first Day 1 flight of the latest £1k in London, the list of players remaining looks more like an English phone book than the leader board of your average high-stakes poker tournament.

Still, with names like WSOP Main Event champion Chris Ferguson, November Niner Matt Jarvis, EPT and WSOP title holder Jason Mercier last year’s WSOPE £1k winner JP Kelly still in the mix, it appears savvy pros looking for a little value are flocking to the events as well.

“Pros are attracted to these events because the standard of play is definitely lower,” Kelly said.

“There’s a lot of dead money and you don’t find that anywhere else.”

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