Could an Earlier Launch of WSOP.com Have Impacted Main Event Numbers?
With online poker now legal in the state of Nevada and Ultimate Poker becoming the first site to go online, it seemed that another casino would get their site online in short order. The seemingly obvious choice for this seemed to be Caesars as many figured that WSOP.com would come online just prior to or during 2013 World Series of Poker.
The WSOP is now well into the Main Event and real money gaming is still not being offered on the website. While it is obvious that the gaming is indeed coming, it seems that the WSOP missed the boat this summer in regards to launching their site. Much of this is now being blamed on technical glitches, including the one that allowed a couple of players to actually play for real money in late May.
In speculating about how that bringing games live on WSOP.com could have impacted the 2013 WSOP, let's take a look at the Main Event. The event drew the "fewest runners since 2005" albeit it seems silly to complain about turnout for an event that drew 6,352 players. How would live games on WSOP.com have impacted this number?
Realistically, I see the number being anywhere from 150 to 400 players higher if WSOP.com would have been online during the WSOP. For those that have never played at the WSOP, satellites run 24 hours a day but sometimes there can be a bit of a wait before one goes off depending on time of day, available dealers, etc.
This wait would not have been nearly as long online. In addition, you would have the chance to play multiple satellites at one time. We also would have had the joy of watching players trying to win their seat into the Main Event while grinding out the bracelet events. It goes without saying that the WSOP would have saw a nice bump in the amount of rake taken in during their satellite revenue had they put the games online.
Some might speculate that the WSOP used this summer as extended advertising for the site prior to a launch later this year in hopes to build up the site and the 2014 WSOP. If this was indeed the approach, there is nothing wrong with that and clearly it is one that will pay off.
My whole point is that the WSOP missed out on revenue and the Main Event would have been larger provided the site was online. I'm sure that next year we will he heralding the impact of the site on the 2014 Main Event and other preliminary events, but as good as numbers were this year, they could have been better.