WSOP’s H.O.R.S.E. field drops to 95 due to lack of TV presence

Poker World Series Commissioner Jeffrey Pollock, who was watching the $50,000 World Poker Championship early Saturday night, smiled broadly as he gestured to the crowd hovering on the rails. Fans stood two or three deep at most points and their camera bulbs blinked so much that they looked like the red carpet at the opening of a blockbuster movie.

“How can anyone stand here and look at this and say that this event isn’t a huge success already?” Pollock said. “The rails are full and that’s what happened on Friday [since the H.O.R.S.E. event began]. Almost all of the best players in the world are sitting at these nine or 10 tables. It’s hard not to look around and see a poker icon on one of the tables.” 메이저 토토사이트

Who were the poker stars? There were the main event champions (Chris Ferguson, Huck Sead, Doyle Brunson, and Jim Bechtel), two living defending champions (Scottie Nguyen, Freddie Depp), and others (Daniel Negrianu, Phil Ivy, Annie Duke, Mike Matusow, and Gus Hansen).

But despite the star-studded field and the packed rail, Pollock couldn’t get away with the fact that the field in the prestigious H.O.R.S.E.’s fourth season had dropped by more than 30 percent compared to the first three years. After attracting nearly 150 players in the first three years (143 in 2006, 148 in 2007, and 148 last year), the 2009 H.O.R.S.E. Championship had only $50,000 for 95 players. That was too much.

The first day of the event was scheduled to begin Friday at 12 p.m., but only about 30 players registered at 11:45 a.m., pushing back the start an hour by WSOP to allow some players to use the late registration option. There were about 60 players on the field when the game began and when registration closed at the start of Level 2, the 95-player record was reached. However, the decision to delay the start was on time and didn’t sit well with some of the pros who were ready to go at high noon.

“We did what we thought was necessary,” Pollock said. “And we tried to explain it to the players who were there on time. I still think the 95 players who did a $50,000 buy-in during the worst economy of our lives are still pretty good turnout.”

Notable athletes in the field were last year’s finalists, including last year’s runners-up Michael Dmitry, Alan Cunningham, Tom “Dederer” Dewan, Phil Helmus, Ted Forrest, and Rylee Berman. In the 95-player field, 16 players will receive this year’s cash prizes and the winner of the David “Chip” Reese Memorial Trophy will receive $1,276,802. Nguyen’s top prize last year was $1,989,120.

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