WSOP 2017: Poker, the world's game
Some call poker "America's game," given its origins and history. While it's true the United States was the game's birthplace, there were many earlier card games from Europe and elsewhere that served as important precursors, providing elements later gathered and modified to become poker.
In truth, poker is the world's game. The aptly-named World Series of Poker helps confirm that to be the case by attracting players from all over the globe to Nevada year after year.
As usual for the Main Event, this year's final 27 in this represent an eclectic group. Spend a little time on the rail here today and you'll hear several different languages as supporters urge on their favorites.
Those making the last three tables to play today come from 10 different countries -- the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.
There's something very different about the demographics among the final three tables this time, though. The U.S. -- always the most represented country at the WSOP and by a wide margin -- has fewer players in the final 27 than they have in recent years, and perhaps in the entire history of the Main Event.
Just 10 of the 27 who started today came from the U.S. -- Jake Bazeley, Scott Blumstein, Michael Krasienko, Ben Lamb, Dan Ott, Christian Pham, Bryan Piccioli, Michael Ruane, Randy Pisane, and Scott Stewart.
Looking back through the archives through 2001, that's the lowest number of Americans in the final 27 for the entire period. In both 2011 and 2013 there were 13 Americans among the last 27, the lowest previous number.
Go back further and things get a little sketchier as far as records are concerned, with nationalities not always recorded for players. But it's a good bet that prior to 2001 the majority of players making the final 27 were certainly from the U.S.
Here's a table breaking it down back to 2011, the year players from seven different countries made the final table -- the most international final table in WSOP Main Event history:
|Year||U.S. players||Other nationalities|
|2017||10||France (4), U.K. (3), Argentina (2), Canada (2), Germany (2), Czech Republic, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia|
|2016||16||U.K. (3), Canada (2), Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, Spain|
|2015||18||Germany (3), Austria, Belgium, Canada, Israel, Italy, U.K.|
|2014||16||Netherlands (2), U.K. (2), Austria, Brazil, France, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden|
|2013||13||Canada (3), France (3), Netherlands (2), Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Italy|
|2012||18||Germany (3), Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Israel, Norway|
|2011||13||Canada (2), Russia (2), U.K. (2), Australia, Belize, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, Ukraine|
Going back from there, the percentage of U.S. players among the last 27 stays high -- 2010 (18), 2009 (19), 2008 (17), 2007 (19), 2006 (22), 2005 (16), 2004 (16), 2003 (22), 2002 (14), 2001 (19).
As noted, go back further and the reporting of nationalities gets inconsistent (even in 2001 and 2002 there are many players without countries listed). Though again it is probably safe to assume there wasn't an instance previously -- going back to the first time the field exceeded 27 players in 1977, the first year Doyle Brunson won it -- that the final 27 weren't mostly (or nearly all) Americans.
As we were noting last week, players from 83 different countries took part in this year's Main Event, with approximately two-thirds of them -- 5,218 out of 7,221 -- coming from the U.S.
But barely a third of those remaining are Americans, with one -- Bazeley in 25th -- having already fallen early today.
Both of the Germans have been eliminated as well, Florian Lohnert (24th) and Robin Hegele (27th). Also out is the lone Czech player, Michael Sklenicka (26th), and the only one from the Netherlands, Marcel Luske (23rd).
Just three U.S. players made that final table in 2011, a record low number. Right now four are in the top nine of the counts after a couple of hours here on Day 7 -- Pham, Blumstein, Pisane, and Lamb.
We'll see how the Americans and others fare today and going forward in this, the world's game.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.