Poker was the game of choice in Nevada’s casinos especially after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2003 and became a multi-millionaire overnight changing the global poker landscape forever. Poker players flocked to casinos in Nevada for a number of years, hoping to make it big and chase their dreams of cashing out big at the poker tables.
Poker Rooms In Las Vegas Struggle
However during the last few years, the interest in live poker has diminished significantly and Nevada’s casinos have struggled to fill seats at their poker tables. A number of casinos on the Las Vegas strip have either shut down their poker rooms or reduced the number of tables as they have been forced to concentrate on other games which bring in more revenue. Las Vegas has seen as many as 22 poker rooms close down since 2011 and a number of iconic properties such as the Hard Rock and Monte Carlo shut down their poker rooms.
Today there are 35 poker rooms in Las Vegas and just 18 on the strip when compared to 2007 when there were 26 poker rooms on the strip generating more than $97 million in gaming revenue from the 405 poker tables. Poker room on the strip generated just $77.6 million in 2016 which was similar to the revenue generated in 2015.
Nevada Poker Rooms Facing Competition
Gaming analysts believe that one of the main reasons for the decline of poker in Nevada’s casinos is due to the fact that today there are a number of casinos spread all across the country and as a result players no longer need to travel to Nevada to play competitive poker. It is highly unlikely that poker rooms in Nevada will see a poker revival as there is far too much competition from casinos spread across the country.
Nevada will see a boost in poker activity during the next few months as the WSOP will once again be taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas. The month and a half long tournament is arguably the most popular poker tournament in the world and poker pros and celebrity poker players from all over the world will travel to Nevada to take part in the 2017 WSOP. Poker rooms in Nevada will profit from WSOP as the influx of poker players into the state means more business for them.
WSOP To Boost Poker In Nevada
While Nevada’s casinos have witnessed declining numbers at the poker tables, the WSOP has recorded a significant growth rate in player participation. Back in 2007, the WSOP had a total of 55 WSOP bracelet events and had a total of 54,288 player registrations. In 2016, the WSOP had a total of 69 WSOP bracelet events and a total of 107,833 player registrations. That number is expected to go higher in 2017 as the WSOP has announced a total of 74 WSOP bracelet events for this year and expects player registrations to be at an all time high.
The popularity of the WSOP along with the introduction of new events such as the Colossus and high roller events have helped the WSOP become the biggest and most popular poker tournament in the world, recording player registrations from over 107 countries during the 2016 edition. The total prize money has also increased significantly with each passing year. The 2007 WSOP saw a total of 159,796,918 being awarded while the 2016 WSOP saw a total of $221,211,336 being awarded to players – which was more than a 38 percent increase.
The WSOP in previous editions used to host the WSOP Main Event which featured the November Niners towards the end of October and early November. This delayed WSOP Main Event table once again helped poker rooms in Nevada to witness more action but this time around the WSOP has made changes to its format and scrapped the November Niner concept. The Main Event will be hosted towards the end of the WSOP tournament and poker rooms in Nevada could miss out on the usual boost in October and November.
Nevada Online Poker Sluggish
Nevada is also one of the three states in America to have legalized online poker but the online poker industry has struggled to take off and has not provided the amount of gaming revenue that industry analysts had earlier estimated.