WSOP 2013: Asking (again) whether size matters
Let us not wring our hands. Let us not lead ourselves into the temptation to read from the tea leaves. Let us not engage in numerological witchcraft. Let us not ask, "Does size matter?"
Indeed, verily verily, my humble readers, it is on this day history teaches us we must worry about the state of the game. We look to the entry numbers for the first flight of the first day of the world's poker barometer. And, yay verily, if we do not like what we see, we fall to our knees and beseech the fates, "Why, oh why do you torture us so with your capricious and arbitrary signs of the poker apocalypse? Why must you be so cruel?"
Yes, friends, it is on this day at this hour that we can first report the Day 1A entry numbers. The news is...well, it's news, neither good nor bad. When the bean counters in the back room stopped counting beans and started counting registrants, they settled on a dubious number: 943.
What, dear fates, does it mean? For that, we turn to the venerable (and newly thin and svelte) communications exec, Seth Palansky.
Day 1A of @wsop Main Event drew 943 players officially. Down from 1,066 last year, but up from 897 two years ago. Pacing for 7,000.— Seth Palansky (@SethPalansky) July 7, 2013
That's the official word from the official source.
Now, if you've just come from algebra class, you might be solving for "x" and trying to figure out how 943 players times three Day 1 flights equals 7,000 players.
Well, this is new math, folks. Poker tournaments just don't use the old math anymore. You can't simply extrapolate from Day 1A to a life-affirming conclusion. Seriously, how many of today's poker players do you know who want to show up at the beginning of anything? Most of them want to know if they can late-reg for Christmas dinner.
If history is any indication, tomorrow will be much bigger than today, and Monday will be even bigger than that. I know this because the oracle of the mount, Kevin Mathers, told me so.
Last year's ME figures by starting day: 1066, 2114, 3418— Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) July 7, 2013
But until we see Sunday and before we think of Monday, it is our duty as hand-wringers and worry warts, to ask if a drop-off on Day 1A is indicative of a slump in registrations. Is it? Is...it?
In the hallways of the Rio, you will hear many opinions. On Twitter, you will read more. I cannot engage, because the only thing I know is that I don't know anything.
Check that. I know this.
I have a list of approximately 50 members of Team PokerStars Pro and Team Online I'm expecting to see during the Main Event. You know how many are playing today?
Eight out of fifty or more PokerStars flag-bearers chose Day 1A. That is, at best/worst, 16% of the people who are going eventually show up to play. That's a completely arbitrary barometer (and still doesn't get the field to 7,000), but taken roughly, it's enough to let you know this simple fact: today's number really doesn't matter much.
And so, if you want to toll the bell for poker, go ahead. We could use a little noise in here. But before you start banging away too hard, let's give it a couple of days before we start asking how much size matters.